Hotel Group Offers Funds and Expertise for Home Reconstruction in Affected Islands
Banyan Tree Group has entered a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on a joint recovery effort in Maldives. The unique private sector-NGO co-operation shows the greenlight for Banyan Tree Group and UNDP to begin work for the reconstruction of homes and buildings in Naalaafushi, an inhabited island in the South Male Atoll of Meemu.
Reconstruction and repair work has begun based on a report that was submitted by a joint assessment team comprising of staff of Banyan Tree Group, led by the luxury resort operator's Chairman Ho Kwon Ping, as well as officials of UNDP and the Maldivian government.
All buildings on Naalaafushi island were damaged by Tsunami waves which hit Maldives on December 26, 2004. The island's 291 residents are currently homeless and are housed in make-shift facilities set up by the UNDP.
"The reconstruction efforts are in alignment with the objectives of the Asian Tsunami Recovery Fund which we set up to assist in recovery and rehabilitation of people severely affected," said Ho Kwon Ping. "We have lived and worked among these communities for many years. I see our role in recovery efforts as something much larger than simply handing out a check. We are directly involved in the assessment of damage, transportation of materials and construction. We will work closely with UNDP to see these projects through over the next six months," he promised.
UNDP's Resident Representative in the Maldives, Moez Doraid said "Through this unique partnership between UNDP, the Government of Maldives and Banyan Tree Group, our aim is to make the most effective use of skills and resources already available here. These joint efforts will enable a more swift and effective large scale relief and recovery operations."
Banyan Tree has sent a team of carpenters, plumbers and other construction staff members from its resorts in Maldives to Naalaafushi to assist residents to rebuild their homes. Construction efforts are moving fast and the team is confident that residents will all have a roof over their heads before the monsoon season begins in June.
The team has also assessed two other damaged islands in the South Male Atoll. Banyan Tree Group has pledged support to the reconstruction and repair of buildings in the islands of Muli and Kolhufushi.
UNDP expects to complete reconstruction of a total of 400 homes and repair of 2000 housing units over the next six months in the Maldives.