In a recent move to expedite needed aid to tsunami victims in the
Maldives, Banyan Tree Group and United Nations Development (UNDP)
have formed a partnership. The joint effort plans reconstruction of
homes and other needed structures in Naalaafushi, an island
devastated by the recent tsunami, in the South Male Atoll in Meemu.
Led by Banyan Tree Group chairman Ho Kwon Ping and officers from
UNDP and the Maldivian government, reconstruction and repair began
based on an assessment by the new partnership.
Tsunami waves decimated most buildings on Naalaafushi on Dec.
26, leaving all 291 residents homeless on the island. However,
facilities have been built as temporary shelter by the UNDP.
“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,” said Moez Doraid UNDP’s resident
representative in the Maldives.
“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
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.”
With monsoon season beginning in June, Banyan Tree has sent
resort construction staff including plumbers and carpenters to
Naalaafushi to assist in the rebuilding project with a goal to
sheltering all victims. Further reports by Banyan Tree and UNDP
assessed similar damage in the South Male Atoll with the same
commitment to reconstruction efforts on the Maldive islands of Muli
This joint effort is in light of Banyan Tree Group’s Jan. 5
confirmation to promote aid relief in the hardest hit areas in
Indonesia, Phuket, Sri Lanka and Maldives by the creation of the
Asian Tsunami Recovery Fund. The fund offers Banyan Tree guests,
staff and business partners opportunity to help with charitable
contributions for mid- to long-term financial backing for those
affected by the tsunami disaster.
To support the fund, Banyan Tree employees made voluntary
contributions of 5 percent of their January salaries and a
redirection of money collected from the Banyan-sponsored Green
Imperative Fund (GIF). The GIF is an on-going environmental
conservation program promoting community advancement. Banyan Tree
has also pledged matching donations from GIF and employees dollar
for dollar. Other efforts include seeking contributions from
business, trade and media partners and active appeal to the public
and resort guests.
UNDP plans reconstruction efforts for a total of 400 homes and
over 2,000 housing units throughout the Maldives in the next six