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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. 

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Oxfam calls for appropriate land for tsunami survivors

Daily News: 29/11/2005"

As the UN special envoy Bill Clinton prepares to meet Governments of Sri Lanka and Indonesia, Oxfam International urged the authorities to provide more appropriate land for the construction of permanent shelter, an Oxfam news release said.

The call comes on the day (Tuesday) that Clinton arrives in Sri Lanka and the day before he goes to Indonesia to see the recovery effort. Although thousands of permanent houses have already been built in both countries, one of the major factors holding up progress is that Governments have not yet got policies in place to ensure appropriate new land is given to all those who lost theirs to the tsunami.

Oxfam is supporting UN special envoy Clinton's efforts to ensure that appropriate land is made available for permanent housing.

"Thousands of permanent houses have already been built for tsunami survivors but until new land is provided for those made landless, the rebuilding process will be too slow. New land must be granted to those who lost it," said Oxfam Director Barbara Stocking.

People lost their land to the tsunami in different ways. For many, the land their homes stood on is now under the sea or uninhabitable. Others find themselves banned by the Government from rebuilding on their old land due to the creation of coastal buffer zones.

In all cases land in locations acceptable to displaced communities must be found, before new houses can be built. Oxfam and its partners are working closely with these Governments to encourage them to provide appropriate land as quickly as possible. So far the Indonesian government has not got policies in place to provide new land to the landless, although a consultation process is now underway. This means that in many cases the rebuilding process cannot even start.

In Sri Lanka the Government has made land available but in some cases the land being offered is inappropriate, such as fishing communities being offered land too far away from the sea. This means rebuilding is delayed as it is unclear about whether the communities would move into any new houses built in these areas.

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