Restoration authority bill to cover recovery process

A restoration authority bill for the recent magnitude 7.5 earthquake will take care of the social and economic recovery process for the affected provinces, over a period of at least 4 years.

Dr Bill Hamblin, Controller of the Emergency Disaster Relief Coordination, put this into perspective while giving an update of the relief efforts that the committee has been overseeing.

Dr Hamblin said the Australian Government has been invited to assist with an assessment report for asset reconstruction.

The Restoration Authority Bill will take care of the restoration of the social and economic aspects of each affected province.

Dr Hamblin said permanent solutions include relocation and food security, but each relief and recovery will depend on each area affected.

Meantime, short term relief supplies have mostly been food, water and shelter.

“Our priority is to ensure that there are no more fatalities. Relief supplies include vaccines and sanitation facilities because of reports of health hazards like typhoid,” he stated.

Dr Hamblin also said donations in kind and cash continue to come in; financial commitments made will also be followed up on.

The Disaster Relief Committee’s biggest challenge is to maintain a strict spending of donated funds.

“Compensation demands have been rejected,” revealed Dr Hamblin.

“It has also been suggested to the Prime Minister to pay travel allowances for public servants involved in the disaster relief efforts through the re-current budget, but I think volunteering should not be a paid effort.

“Provincial disaster committees, who have also incurred costs for relief supplies, cannot send their bills to us. Each district has its Special Support Grant of K2 million. I’m sure the government can settle their bills through that.”

So far the Disaster Relief Coordination Committee has spent K5 million on food and water.

K4 million has been used to settle bills, while a K3 million outstanding remains.

Dr Hamblin said so far, K65 million in donations was received, with more expected, including a $3 million in grant from the Asian Development Bank.

Logistics will continue to be a challenge for the Disaster Relief Coordination Committee, not just in delivering supplies but reaching more affected populations who most likely have not been located yet.

(Dr Bill Hamblin – Controller, Emergency Disaster Relief Coordination)

Salome Vincent