Qtel offers helping hand to Indonesian villagers

July 01, 2011 - 10:07:40 pm

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, Chairman of Qtel, Ahmad Abdullah Al Mohannadi, Qatar’s Ambassador to Indonesia, and other dignitaries at the ground breaking ceremony of the special charity project in Yogyakarta.


Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has laid the foundation stone in an Indonesian village where 56 homes for the victims of the Mount Merapi volcanic eruption are set to rise.

The October 2010 Mount Merapi eruptions caused devastation across a significant area in Indonesia. It is estimated that almost 350,000 people were evacuated during the eruptions and 324 people lost their lives. Buildings were lost due to the fire, and there was widespread disruption.

At a special ceremony in Indonesia on Saturday last week, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, Chairman of Qtel, broke the ground on the special charity project in Yogyakarta, the worst affected by the volcanic eruption of 2010.

Qtel is helping to build an entirely new village for families whose homes were destroyed in the fires that followed the major eruption, which forced the evacuation of 350,000 people.

This foundation stone laying ceremony marked an important milestone in the Qtel Group’s ongoing relief efforts for victims of the eruption.

“On behalf of Qtel, let me say how proud we are to begin work on this new village, which will provide a home and a real sense of community for families who were driven from their homes by the events of last year. We hope this new village is a happy home for them, and for their children, and that it provides the foundations to move forward with a renewed sense of hope and expectation,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani.

As part of its support, Qtel is funding the construction of a comprehensive residential complex, including 56 houses, a water well and a mosque that can provide a place of worship for 240 people. Qtel has also funded and help build the complete infrastructure for the village, including streets, a public sewer system, and a children’s playground.

In total, the project extends over 7,450 square metres, and the full plot of land was bought and donated to the people by Qtel for this project.

Qtel’s contribution to building the Qtel village is 7bn Rupees, almost QR3m.

Each house will be furnished with all the amenities, including fridges, gas cookers, beds, mattresses and flooring.

“Our aim is to make each house a home for families,” said the Qtel Chairman.

“Indosat played an important role in providing relief and communication support during that difficult time. Within the Qtel Group, we sat with our colleagues and discussed how we could make a long-term contribution, to help the people of Yogyakarta recover and continue their lives. For that reason, we began to work with the Foundation of Islah Bina Umat to begin to rebuild houses lost in the eruption, and provide homes for all those affected in this tragedy. Qtel is pleased to provide the funding for this project, so that we can give back to those who have lost everything, and enable them to begin rebuilding their lives,” said Sheikh Abdullah.

In total, 13 villages, 2586 homes, 77 clinics, and 217 schools were all lost in the fire. In Yokyagarta, some 443km away from Jakarta, the effects were felt most severely, and there were significant challenges in providing emergency relief in this remote area.

“After the completion of the first phase of the project, we recognised that significant demand for housing existed, and extended the number of houses from 31 to 56. This was agreed with the Foundation this May, and we begin work on this second wave of housing today,” said Adel Al Mutawa, Executive Director, Group Communications.

Mutawa added the new homes will open for the victims before the end of the year.

“We are working with town planners and experienced developers, to ensure that the Qtel Village offers an ideal living experience for its residents,” he said adding Qtel will continue to play an active role in this village and in relief activities in the surrounding area.

“We hope that our support for rebuilding this village demonstrates the Qtel Group’s commitment to Indonesia and its people, and that it fuels a sense of connection between the people of our two great nations,” said Sheikh Abdullah.

Qtel has also supported a programme to provide relief aid for families forced into temporary accommodation when they were evacuated. Regular packages of relief aid, including food and daily necessities, are being provided while the construction of the village is being undertaken.

Qtel donated 16 tonnes of food in two deliveries of aid in May and June. Aid included rice, sugar, milk, flour, and other canned food items for families living in temporary accommodation in the Ploso Kerep- Desa WukirsarI Sleman area.

Qtel is carrying out some other programs that are targeted to reduce suffering of the volcano victims in other parts of Indonesia.

The ground breaking ceremony was also attended by Ahmad Abdullah Al Mohannadi, Qatar’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Qtel and Qatar Charity officials and local civic dignitaries.

Later during the day Qtel delivered emergency food aid to victims of the volcanic eruption.

At a special ceremony in the presence of Qtel Chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani and senior representatives of Qtel and Indosat, part of the Qtel Group, the company delivered aid packages to 500 families who were affected by the volcano.

The distribution ceremony was also attended by Qatar’s Ambassador to Indonesia Ahmad Abdullah Al Mohannadi and the governor of Soliman City, as well as representatives of Social Affairs and the police from the local area.

“At the Qtel Group, we are honoured by the links we have forged with Indonesia. When the Merapi Volcano erupted in October last year, we were alarmed to hear of the loss of life and wanted to provide immediate and sustainable support for the affected people. Qtel looks to help wherever it can, and will continue to support the victims of the eruption until they are safely back in their homes,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed.

Adel Al Mutawa led the team distributing the aid packages, which included food and relief supplies.

This initiative was part of a larger support programme conducted as part of the Qtel Group’s ambitious international strategy for corporate social responsibility, which aims to provide emergency relief across its international footprint.

In total, Qtel donated more than nine tonnes of food, including rice, sugar, milk, flour, and other canned food items, as well as other necessities, to the families, who are living in temporary structures in the Ploso Kerep- Desa WukirsarI Sleman area of Indonesia.

The families were forced to evacuate their homes during the disaster, and have lived in temporary accommodation since then, due to the destruction of their houses in the fires that followed the eruptions.

Qtel’s aid programme in Indonesia aims to help those affected by the eruptions by providing sustained, ongoing support. Aid is being delivered at regular intervals and, at the same time, the company is supporting reconstruction efforts to enable the affected families to move back into their homes.

The first batch of aid was delivered in May 2011, and plans are in place to continue to provide support until the families can move back to their homes. This is one of a number of programmes supported by Qtel aimed at offering emergency relief for the victims of the Mount Merapi eruptions.

After the food was distributed, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani toured the temporary relief camps prepared by the Indonesian government, and met with representatives of the families, to understand how Qtel could best provide support during this difficult time.

The Qtel Group holds a 65 percent stake in Indosat, one of the largest providers of communications services in Indonesia.