“Tsunami affected communities should not be helpless recipients. They have to be considered as the rightful owners of the process and the resources.
They should be the key planners and decision makers”, asserts People’s Planning Commission (PPC) report on Recovery after Tsunami released in a meeting organized at National Library Services Hall in Colombo yesterday. This commission, comprised of more than 130 people’s organizations, has been working out on the basic Principle that the process of recovery and all resources mobilized by what ever agency, whether Government or International NGOs or local NGOs, should belong to the affected people.
“The affected people have the right to plan their own process of rebuilding their lives”, said president of PPC, Prof. H. Sriyananda.
PPC has received support from some NGOs and INGOs on this People’s Process which aims to ensure tsunami affected communities’ participation and ownership on decision making process which affects their future.
“Since tsunami, various plans emerged from different authorities and agencies working for the rehabilitation of the affected communities. But many of them have been missing the most important thing: getting communities’ participation in the whole process. The initiation of the People’s Planning Commission tries to bridge this gap and build a stronger process of involving these communities”, said Saroj Dash, Policy and Programme Team Leader from ActionAid International Sri Lanka, one of the INGO which supports this People’s Process.
The Commission made recommendations regarding this necessary change of “structures of planning” at community level as well as at national level. “Structures have to be set at community and district of sub-district levels to ensure that tsunami affected communities participate on the bodies that make decisions”, affirms the Report. One of the main proposals from PPC concerns land allocation, buffer zone and resettlement of affected communities: “Definitive limits of the buffer zone have to be established taking into account the particular situation in each area. Exceptional measures will have to be taken for reconstruction within the buffer zone. A clear definition of land ownership is necessary for the zones of resettlement, with clear principles for compensation”.
The acceleration of permanent houses is also a priority for PPC, together with the improvement of the still provisional shelters. “People’s participation in the planning and in the construction of houses is central to success”, concludes the report.
PPC expressed its concern about the recovery and rebuilding of those affected by Tsunami as well as by the war in the North and East of the country.
ActionAid works in partnership with 18 local organizations in Sri Lanka, covering more than 200 villages and reaching over 33.000 people in eight affected districts in the first year.
Its interventions range from meeting immediate humanitarian needs, providing psycho-social support, rebuilding livelihoods, getting children back to school, strengthening community capacities, enhancing human security and ensuring aid reaches the poorest of the poor. ActionAid’s tsunami response program covers Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, the Maldives and Somalia.