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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. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Post Tsunami recovery and reconstruction, progress, challenges, way forward - Joint report of the Government of Sri Lanka and development partners

ReliefWeb - Document Preview: Source: Government of Sri Lanka
Date: 27 Dec 2005

Executive Summary

About the report: This report aims at providing an objective joint assessment of post-tsunami relief, recovery and reconstruction interventions and the way forward. A team comprised of representatives from the government, civil society, and the international community prepared this document, with 20 government institutions, 20 bilateral and multilateral organizations and 18 national and international NGOs contributing relevant details. During October 2005, more than 100 experts and practitioners from these institutions met and prepared detailed summaries of four sectors and seven thematic areas.
Impact of the Tsunami: The tsunami killed 35,322 people, displaced 1,000,000 persons and affected over two thirds of the island’s coastline and outlying 13 districts. Besides the tremendous loss of life and injuries, the tsunami caused extensive damage to property and disruptions of fisheries and other livelihood activities and business assets. Social networks also were severely disrupted. In many cases, lives became complicated due to the loss of legal documents. The socio-economic impact was of greater consequence as the tsunami compounded previously existing vulnerabilities.
Emergency response and relief: Thanks to a quick combined response by the government, local communities, local NGOs, private sector and the international community, the country recorded no additional deaths because of tsunami related diseases or lack of delayed medical treatment. The government, with international support, carried out immediate repairs of basic infrastructure, such as major pipelines and water sources, roads, bridges, electricity, and telephone lines. National and foreign military personnel helped in the rescue operations, identification and burial of dead, and debris clearance. Nearly 600 schools and places of worship provided emergency shelter. Food aid was provided to 910,000 people and a compensation scheme for the victims was put in place. The government and LTTE cooperated in order to ensure that humanitarian assistance reached those in need.
Funding the recovery and reconstruction process: The government has projected it would take 3-5 years to complete the rehabilitation and reconstruction task and fully restore the services and livelihoods. This effort will cost approximately US $ 2.2 billion. The international community has committed US $ 2.1 billion and an estimated US $ 0.6 billion has been disbursed. In addition, debt relief/ moratorium and balance of payments support have also been received. Based on a clear assessment of the experience so far remaining gaps will be identified and corrective action will be taken to ensure the speediest recovery.
Getting people back to their homes: Displaced families were sheltered in emergency accommodations. It was recognized that the construction of more than 98,000 permanent houses would take time, and transitional shelters were required in the interim. The government declared a buffer zone of 100 meters from the high water line in the south and southwest 200 meters in the north and east, where reconstruction of permanent houses was restricted. The buffer zone has been a critical issue in the recovery process.
Out of the targeted 60,000 transitional shelters, some 54,102 have been completed and 1,948 are nearing completion allowing internally-displaced persons (IDPs) to move out of tents. This significant achievement is the result of a concerted effort of the government and development partners. However, the quality of these transitional shelters sometimes may not have been to one’s expectations. Upgrading has been underway and a programme of care and maintenance is being implemented. Simultaneously, two programmes for permanent housing to repair or rebuild damaged houses were also introduced. For people living outside the buffer-zone, under a homeowner driven programme financial support is being provided to 66,525 families. Thus far, the first of four installments has been released to 83.5% of these families. Subsequent installments are being progressively disbursed. For people previously living within the buffer zone, a donor-built housing resettlement programme is underway. Some 32,000 families will be assigned housing in new locations with the necessary facilities. As of 13 December , some 10,707 units were under construction, and 4,299 completed. In addition, a large number of shelters and houses constructed by others including Buddhist temples, individuals, private sector and other organizations remain within public knowledge although not formally reported to the center.
In spite of the progress made, notable shortcomings and areas for further improvements need to be mentioned. Accordingly, consultation and communication between beneficiaries, local governments and development partners must be improved. Some families remain uncertain about their future housing options or whether they are not eligible under the ongoing programmes. Further challenges remain such as undersupply in certain areas, additional demands for housing with the recent revision of buffer zone regulations, construction capacity, time constraints and rising prices of building materials. These issues are being addressed.
Full report (pdf* format - 834 KB)

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