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: "Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Date: 30 Jun 2005
United Nations Activities in Support of the Relief and Recovery Efforts of the Sri Lankan Government and Its People
Stay the course and "build back better"
Six months after the tsunami, with the emergency relief phase winding down, but not yet completely over, daunting challenges lie ahead. They will require the full coordination of the government and international agencies and NGOs, and a constant ear to the views and aspirations of tsunami-affected communities. They will also require patience and understanding -- from the beneficiaries themselves, and from all actors, Sri Lankan and international. We must remain committed to the reconstruction phase and stay the course.
Given the sheer scale and complexity of the task - securing adequate land, building 90,000-plus
permanent homes, and restoring livelihoods for every family - that will be impossible to achieve in only a few short months. On that, there should be no confusion. As UN Special Envoy Bill Clinton said on his visit to Sri Lanka late last May, it will take three-to-five-years for Sri Lanka to "build back better." And that's the goal that Sri Lankans and their international partners all share.
The Sri Lankan government now has a national reconstruction plan and UN agencies and NGO's are lending their support and underpinning to it. "Get people into homes," "Get people back to work," "Ensure health, education and protection for all affected people," and "Upgrade the national infrastructure." These are the titles of the four main action programmes of the Taskforce for Rebuilding the Nation (TAFREN). They are ones the UN agencies support and the entire international community are committed to see realized. In the interim, there are still pressing humanitarian needs to be met - full support and assistance to those people who remain in inadequate shelters comes to mind. The UN agencies and NGO's must remain particularly pro-active in responding to the plight of these people as long as is necessary.
Nonetheless, it is worth acknowledging at this point that some real achievements have occurred in recent months, as some of the statistics and articles in this second issue of "Post-Tsunami Update," affirm. Some 30,000 transitional houses have now been built and more than 20,000 are to be completed in coming weeks. The pace in construction in permanent housing is picking up, people are getting back to work and a variety of cash-for-work, cash-for-food and micro-credit schemes are helping, as well, to restore lives and livelihoods. It is a promising start to the long road ahead.
Miguel BermeoUN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Sri Lanka
FAO and Cey-Nor repair boats and restore livelihoods
FAO has repaired over 3,400 boats in Sri Lanka, enabling nearly 12,000 fishers to resume their livelihoods since last December's tsunami destruction. According to government and FAO estimates, 54 per cent of the total fishing fleet was either made unseaworthy or was totally destroyed by the tsunami. FAO, which works through the government-owned boat building and fishery supply company Cey-Nor Foundation Ltd, mobilized resources from a number of international donors to fund its boat rehabilitation activities.
FAO is supporting Cey-Nor through the provision of tools, boat repair materials and payment of labour charges. The aim of the activity is to ensure that fishers in all affected districts are allowed to resume their livelihoods as quickly as possible. Close to 5,000 fishers were killed by the tsunami waves in Sri Lanka and tens of thousands of others saw their houses destroyed and their means of earning a living -- their boats, nets and other equipment -- washed away. Through its partnership with the government and Cey-Nor, FAO has already repaired 3,415 fishing boats in Sri Lanka and has supplied 75 percent of the funds and raw materials made available to Cey-Nor. FAO is also funding the repair of inboard engines and outboard motors. To date, 212 inboard engines and 658 outboard motors have already been repaired by Cey-Nor using FAO funds. Full report
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