Commissioner General of Essential Services Thilak Ranaviraja says families eligible for relief after the tsunami disaster will receive Rs. 5000 per month for six months, depending on the availability of funds.
Meeting displaced families at Balapitiya, Mr. Ranaviraja said although the government has decided to provide Rs. 5000 for a period of six months, the payment of that money will depend on what funds are available. However, those who have not received relief for the first two months can now collect it, he said.
Responding to questions raised by fishermen families, Mr. Ranaviraja said that if the houses along the coastal line were not destroyed by the tidal wave, families could continue to live in them. Families not wishing to move out could also stay in houses repaired after slight damage. There is no intention on the part of the government to take over land, he said. But the respective provincial secretaries will decide whether such houses are good for living.
Although the Commissioner General said the payment of Rs. 5000 depends on the availability of funds, at an meeting held at Sausiripaya, the Chairman for Rebuilding the Nation Mano Tittawella, speaking about relief for displaced families, said without condition that affected families would receive Rs. 5000 for six months.
He added that by six months, houses would be built to give to displaced families. According to Mr. Tittawella, the number of houses completely destroyed by the tsunami was around 41,393, and partly damaged houses numbered around 36,168.
The number of new houses built per year within the country is a mere 4000 and the task of building such a large number of new houses is therefore big. Hence, these houses will be built in three stages.
The fist step would be to move over 100,000 families living in 263 camps to immediate shelters. The second step is to move them to temporary houses. Then they will be moved to permanent houses, Mr. Tittawella explained.
The government has already found temporary houses for 15,000 families, and 4000 more houses are being constructed. He also said that over 200 benefactors have come forward to help in this effort. Some have signed MoUs with the state and together have commenced constructing over 2500 houses.