rainy season and have poor drainage and thus poor sanitation," says Atwood. "Many of the funds that were contributed so generously by international donations have not been spent."
Atwood concedes, however, that some of the delay is because organizations are programming for quality rather than quantity and are trying to rebuild better than before. "The government of Indonesia modified its seismic standards for construction in Aceh from those that would sustain a 6- to 7-scale earthquake, to those for an 8 to 9 earthquake," he says. "This means more time, materials, and cost in construction—but it's worth it. People have seen the horrible pictures of schoolchildren trapped in the rubble of their schools that collapsed around them in an earthquake like the one recently in Pakistan. This area of the world—the west coast of Java and Sumatra—is one of the, if not the, most earthquake-prone areas in the world."
Hein says that international NGOs (like CCF, Save the Children, UNICEF, and so on) and local Indian NGOs coordinated their efforts well. In the tsunami-devastated communities of southern India, the CCF created hundreds of "child-centered spaces," UNICEF provided potable water, and Save the Children set up tents for temporary housing. "Local NGO partners helped their neighbors heal by knowing not just the language, Tamil, but also the best ways to help healing and to be effective," Hein said. "For example, we were part of helping the kids overcome their fear of the water by playing Indian games with them, and they became role models for older adults in being able to be near the water again."
The big international aid organizations, with their decades of experience in providing humanitarian relief, may have worked well with each other and with the countries they were helping, but the overall recovery effort was chaotic at times. Many well-meaning, but less
"People are still living in tents in both Aceh and Nias, and some of these tent camps [were] rapidly erected . . . and have poor drainage and thus poor sanitation," observes Atwood.
experienced, organizations were trying to help out, too. These "amateur [organizations] had no idea what they were doing," Aldis says. "They didn't know the local language. They didn't know the local customs. They didn't know physicians. They didn't know the local essential drug list. And they didn't know enough to even ask those questions."
Often, for example, drug donation guidelines were ignored and inappropriate medications—ones that weren't needed or requested, weren't labeled in the local language, or were near or past their expiration dates—poured into tsunami-stricken areas. Aldis heard of a hospital in southern Thailand where three of its four operating rooms "were full of cartons of useless drugs."