Ruslan Sangadji, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has promised victims of last year's earthquake in Palu, Central Sulawesi, that they will be able to celebrate Idul Fitri next year in new homes.
"The Public Works and Housing Ministry has accelerated the land preparation, so there will be no more problems with constructing the houses," the President said on Tuesday.
"And we'll ensure that the disaster victims can move into the houses before Idul Fitri 2020."
Idul Fitri, which marks the end of Ramadan, is expected to fall on May 23 next year.
Jokowi made the statements when inspecting the construction of permanent houses in Palu's Tondo regency.
The Tondo housing project, implemented by the government but sponsored by the Buddha Tzu Chi Indonesia Foundation in cooperation with the Eka Cipta Foundation and Indofood, aims to provide a thousand houses for residents affected by a string of earthquakes, a tsunami and soil liquefaction that hit the region last year.
One of the construction contractors, Utomo Kuntjoro, said the complex would be named Perumahan Cinta Kasih (Love Residence).
The first project phase will see the completion of 1,000 36-square-meter houses, each sitting on a 150-square-meter plot of land.
"The complex will also feature public facilities, such as schools, places of worship and an assembly hall," he said.
The earthquake victims may need to tone down their expectations for their new dwellings, as The Jakarta Post found significant discrepancy between the initial and final designs.
The design proposed by the Buddha Tzu Chi Foundation was for two-bedroom houses with marble floors. Meanwhile, what has been built by the government so far is one-bedroom houses without marble floors.
Jokowi added that the central government had opened tenders for the construction of 11.094 houses for evacuees in Duyu subdistrict of Palu city and in Sigi regency.
"Everything will be finished by 2020 [...]. However, we have to address any land procurement problems that may arise," Jokowi said. (gis)