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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, August 18, 2005

Over 50% houses destroyed in six tsunami affected districts — IPS

The Island: 17/08/2005" by Gamini Perera

The launching of a report: "Listening to those who lost: Analysis, rebuilding and relocation of tsunami affected households in Sri Lanka," took place at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Colombo.

The report analyses, view of tsunami survivors on rebuilding, relocation and land issues. It was prepared by the IPS with MG consultants and a team of supervisors and enumerators. The report was funded by the World Bank. It presents the views of the Institute of Policy Studies, based on the survey data and not those of the World Bank.

"The report is based on surveys conducted in six tsunami affected districts, where Grama Niladari Divisions (GNDs) had over 50% houses destroyed. Originally, the survey covered eight districts, but due to obstructions placed by the LTTE in approving the survey in Mullativu and Jaffna, only six districts were accounted," said Dushni Weerakoon, Deputy Director, IPS.

"From the GNDs," Weerakoon said that, "14 GNDs were selected to reflect the ethnic, religious diversity of tsunami affected areas. Data was gathered in April, 2005, after the tsunami warning of March, 28, 2005, which may have impacted the results. Interviews were held with 622 households from both within and outside the buffer zone. (approximately 45 households per GND) randomly selected from among those whose houses were "unusable." Focus groups and interviews were conducted with government officials and other key informants," said the deputy directory.

Following are some of the results presented: Characteristics of households who suffered damage due to the tsunami, rebuilding houses for those outside the buffer zone, Relocation of households within the buffer zone, Land issues and recommendations for donor support for post-tsunami rebuilding.

According to Paul Steele, Associate Research Fellow, of IPS, "the government with the assistance of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Swiss Development Bank Corporation and other donors provide grants for households outside the buffer zone to rebuild.

"While the government states that "ownership" is required to receive the rebuilding assistance, it seems that households who are living on state land, with a valid permit or grant will also be eligible. Of the households in the survey, 16% said they lived on state land," said Steele. He said that, "a significant proportion (averaging 37%) of households outside the buffer zone would like to rebuild in another location than their current land, primarily because they are afraid of living too near the sea.

He further said that, "pre-built houses were preferred by (48%) households outside the buffer zone, while 28% preferred credit, 10% materials and for 10%, it did not matter, although these averages conceal significant variation between GNDs."

"One third of households (35%) said they could not rebuild their houses if money was provided. Ability to rebuild houses is constrained by several factors: lack of skills and equipment within affected households, concerns about accessing funds and whether funds are sufficient, limited help for rebuilding from other households and community based organisations and concerns about cost and availability of labour and materials," Steele pointed out.

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