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Sunday, 19 June 2011

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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.


S.B. Divaratne

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 the UNDP.


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.


Ms P.S.M.Charles

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 under construction.


Ms Rupawathy
Ketheeswaran


S. Pathinathan

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 her district.

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.

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