Semblance of relief

Published: Wednesday 31 August 2005

Vessels of doom: Indonesia suf They choose the deep blue sea over the devil (of starvation, in this case), literally. Driven by extreme desperation due to loss of livelihood, tsunami-hit fisherfolk in Indonesia's Banda Aceh area are willingly venturing into the sea in the new fishing boats provided in aid, knowing full well that the vessels might never bring them back.

"The fishermen...know that the new boats might be defective. But they still venture out in them because they have to make a living," media reports recently quoted Mike Savins of un Food and Agriculture Organisation (fao) as saying. Most of the new boats are of very bad quality and sink easily. Despite this, the heavy flow of aid has led to a mushrooming of boat-building activities, resulting in the use of untreated lumber and hurried and faulty construction. Also, the boats are being built by inexperienced people. fao has called for the destruction of all such boats and the construction of new, safe ones. It says over 30 non-governmental organisations and many foreign governments are funding projects in Indonesia without analysing the ground realities.

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