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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. 

Friday, March 30, 2007

Two years lapsed, Moratuwa tsunami victims still in camps

The Island: 30/03/2007" By Suranga Gamage

Though more than two years have passed since the tsunami disaster, many victims in Moratuwa complain that they have still not given the promised facilities to rebuild their destroyed houses.

Many underprivileged people living along the coastal belt of Moratuwa suburbs such as Koralawella, Egoda Uyana, Lunawa and Angulana, who lost their dwellings are living in camps established as temporary settlements which are congested and with poor sanitation.

A tsunami camp dweller, under condition of anonymity said that victims receiving financial assistance under various schemes arranged by the government to buy lands and build houses, are being pushed from pillar to post due to the lethargy of the Moratuwa Divisional Secretariat.
He said that since government couldn’t find suitable lands in the Moratuwa area, it was proposed to provide financial assistance for individual families to buy lands and build their houses.

"Since land prices are much higher in Moratuwa suburbs, many victims made arrangements to purchase lands in surrounding areas such as Piliyandala, Kesbewa, Wadduwa, Panadura and Bandaragama where lands are relatively cheap," he said.

"However when they applied for financial assistance to purchase the lands, the Divisional Secretariat wasted time on inspections and documentation work, and by the time these formalities were completed the land owners would find new buyers," another victim said.
Moratuwa District Secretary was not available for comment, but a subordinate officer said that according to government procedures, funds could be released for purchasing lands after title deeds were certified and valuation reports completed. However, since most lands sought by tsunami victims were located outside the Moratuwa Division, they have to wait till the relevant reports are submitted to them by the respective Divisional Secretariats.

He said that the issue has already been conveyed to relevant Ministries and a conclusive decision is expected soon.

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