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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Rebuilding in tsunami ravaged areas - Tittawela

The Island: 9/05/2005" Rebuilding in tsunami ravaged areas: Donors have pledged to fund total housing reconstruction - Tittawela, by Gamini Perera

"The latest figures published by the Department of Census and Statistics has put the number of fully-damaged housing units after the tsunami at 41,303 and partly damaged housing units at 36, 168 which add up to a total of 77,561," said Presidential advisor and chairman, Task Force for Rebuilding the nation (TAFREN) Mano Tittawela, speaking at a media conference in Colombo recently organised by TAFREN and TAFOR (Task Force for Relief). He said, "rebuilding such a large number of houses in a short time is a daunting task, since the total number of houses constructed in the entire country per year, adds up to about four to eight thousand only.

"Providing houses for all the Tsunami-effected families has to be done in three different stages. The first was the provision of emergency shelters, without delay for nearly 96,000 people in 263 camps. Many were given tents since these were the easiest to obtain, transport and install. The second stage is to move each family to a transitional house. These take longer to build, but are more comfortable and can be used until permanent houses are constructed. Four months after the tsunami, we have provided 15,470 families with transitional houses, which are currently under construction. The third stage is the building of permanent houses, which is a longer process," he explained.

"We have received pledges form 194 donors for a total of about 97,000 permanent housing unites. 159 MoUs have already been signed with 71, donors for 34,000 units. Construction work has already begun on 2,325 permanent houses," Tittalwela went on. He also said, "damage assessment teams have already been deployed in the affected districts, depending on the extent of the damage. Grants of Rs. 100,000 to 250,000 are made available to tsunami-affected families to rebuild their houses. So far, 5,476 eligible households have received their first instalment of Rs. 50,000/- through the State Banks."

He also said, "TAFOR and TAFREN were formed to accelerate post - tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction in all affected sectors, including housing by engaging the primary stockholders, the tsunami affected, whose houses and livelihoods need construction without delay. Donor Agencies that have pledged funds for housing and other necessary facilities and implementing organisations, such as NGOs, government ministries and Agencies that are carrying out the reconstruction work.

Equal importance

"To ensure the smooth implementation of the rehabilitation process, projects in Tsunami affected areas, the conflict areas, too, should be considered with equal importance," Divisional secretary, Jaffna, K. Ganesh said.

M. A. Piyasena, District Secretary (DS) Hambantota, V. Shanmugam, DS Batticaloa, H. G. Jayasekera, DS Matara, Ms. Sheehan, Chief-of-Mission, International Organisation for Migration, Juliana Fernando, Director, Finance and Administration Plan, Sri Lanka were also present at the media conference.

The panel included: Ranavirajah chairman, TAFOR, Lalith Weeratunge, board member, TAFREN Hewage, secretary, ministry of Urban Development and Water Supply, Dr. Batagoda, CEO, Tsunami Housing, Reconstruction Unit, (THRU) and Ms. Myrna Evera, country director, Plan Sri Lanka.

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