Housing programs nearing completion :
Permanent shelter for IDPs soon
Senior government authorities involved in providing livelihood and
infrastructure facilities to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of
the North expressed confidence that the major problem of permanent
housing for them would be resolved in the coming months.
With the rapid housing programs that are being implemented by the
different Government agencies under the patronage of the Presidential
Task Force (PTF) for Resettlement, Development and Security of the
Northern Province, the 50,000 housing program of the Government of India
and the involvement of INGOs and NGOs, the need of the IDPs for
permanent housing would be fulfilled to enable them to return to their
traditional lifestyle, the sources said.
Secretary to the PTF S.B. Divaratne told the Sunday Observer that
houses of a large percentage of the IDPs were destroyed by the LTTE for
the purpose of dislocating them from time to time. They did not have
their own houses for many years. In the Mullaitivu district, many of
them lived in shanty-like houses, he said.
Citing an example, he said that houses built under the North-East
Housing Rehabilitation Program (NEHRP) for the IDPs in Kilinochchi were
repeatedly destroyed by the LTTE on three occasions. He also said that
the Government has recognised the need of the IDPs for permanent housing
and plans are off the ground to fulfil that need as early as possible.
Apart from the commitment of the Government of India to construct
50,000 housing units, housing programs are also being implemented by the
northern provincial administration, the UN Habitat, European Union and
Ms Imelda Sukumar
The Sri Lanka Red Cross (SLRC), Sarvodaya, the United Methodist
Committee on Relief (UMCOR), CARITAS and the Norwegian Refugee Council
(NRC) have also undertaken to construct housing units in certain
districts, government sources said.
Project Director of the Northern PC P. Devendrarajah said that funds
were allocated under the NEHRP program for constructing 27,392 houses
and the construction of 16,178 units have already been completed. The
remaining 11,240 units are under construction, he said.
GA for the Jaffna district Ms Imelda Sukumar said that of the total
number of 60,000 houses needed for IDPs in her district, houses have
already been provided to 20,000 families.
Of the World Bank's total commitment of 13,500 houses, the
construction of 9000 has already been completed. Of the total commitment
of 3000 housing units from INGOs for her district 1900 have been
completed while construction of the remaining number is under way, she
said. Under the Government of India housing program, her district will
get 7400 units, she said.
GA for the Kilinochchi district Ms Rupawathy Ketheeswaran said that
of the 30,000 houses needed for IDPs in her district, 7000 units are now
These will be completed soon while construction of the other 23,000
units will be completed phased over the next few months, she said.
The Government of India has allocated 250 units under their pilot
program of 1000 units covering all five districts and she anticipataed
to get between 8000 to 10,000 units for her district, she said.
GA for the Vavuniya district, Ms P.S.M.Charles said that 10,461
housing units are required for the families that have been resettled in
Construction of 1771 units is under way while 8690 more housing units
are required, she said.
GA for the Mullaitivu district S. Pathinathan said that a total of
22,396 housing units are needed in his district. Already there are
commitments to construct 7927 units, he said.