Mother-Child Hospital a `Fitting Conclusion’ to CRS’ Tsunami Recovery

Nearly five years after the tsunami that devastated Banda Aceh, Catholic Relief Services is completing its reconstruction work in Indonesia.

In August, CRS celebrated the opening of the Rumah Sakit Ibu dan Anak (Mother and Child Hospital) in Aceh. The hospital provides specialized—and much-needed—prenatal, postnatal, and pediatric care. Before, mothers facing difficult deliveries would have to travel 12 hours by bus—approximately 500 miles—to the city of Medan to receive proper medical care.

Tsunami hospital

David Piraino (at podium) and Yenni Suryani (at left) address an audience celebrating the final wing of a mother-child hospital in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. The hospital was built as part of CRS’ response to the 2004 tsunami that devastated much of Banda Aceh. Photo by CRS staff

CRS began work on the hospital shortly after the December 2004 tsunami. In 2005, CRS completed the first phase of the hospital, opening an emergency room, clinics, and administration area. Between June 2008 and August 2009, CRS worked on the second phase of the hospital project, which included an OBGYN clinic, an operating room, a dental clinic, in-patient wards, laboratory, kitchen, and staff areas.

Soon after the tsunami, CRS distributed food, tents and essential hygiene kits to nearly 250,000 people. CRS also constructed more than 2,000 temporary shelters to house families as they awaited completion of permanent homes. Since then, CRS has constructed 4000 permanent homes, providing housing for an estimated 20,000 people. CRS also rebuilt 300 community infrastructure projects, including bridges, schools, and more.

On August 24, CRS Executive Vice President David Piraino and Regional Director Kevin Hartigan joined local government officials and CRS Indonesia staff to celebrate the official opening of the hospital wing. “This is a fitting conclusion to the recovery work CRS has been doing for nearly five years,” says Piraino. “We hope to see many happy, healthy babies in this wing over the coming years.”

—Christopher Frey and Laura Sheahen, CRS regional information officer for Asia and the Pacific Rim

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