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Sunday, 25 September 2011

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Thanks to Australian Govt, UN-Habitat:

Shelter for the homeless

The Australian Government, in partnership with the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT), has handed over one hundred houses under the project ‘Shelter Support to Conflict Affected IDPs in Northern Sri Lanka’ in Phase one in Kallaru village in Kilinochchi district last Tuesday. The Australian High Commissioner H.E. Kathy Klugman and Government officials, UN-HABITAT representatives and members of the local communities participated in this opening ceremony.

Kallaru is one of the villages which got severely damaged during the conflict and with the dawn of peace the Australian Government gave their helping hand along with UN HABITAT by recognising the urgent need to facilitate the dignified return of those displaced community in the Northern Province.

The project was started in January 2010 and was able to assist 3,785 families to reconstruct or repair their damaged houses in the districts of Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi.

Addressing the ceremony the Australian High Commissioner Kathy Klugman said, “It’s my great pleasure to be here to hand over one hundred houses to the people who built the houses and for the people who are the true owners of these houses and the land. The people in Northern Province of Sri Lanka have gone through so many hardships and traumas in the past. The Australian Government working with the Government of Sri Lanka is committed to helping you looking into the future and we understand importance of having an own house for the well-being of a family.

The Australian government is also helping to rebuilt twenty five schools in the Northern Province which were damaged during the time of conflict and we understand the future rely of your children rely on good education,”

“Other than that since the majority of the villagers’ livelihood is fishing and farming, we will provide the required equipment which we think will help to stand by your own and continue the livelihood in a more effective manner,” she further said.

It is estimated that three decades of civil conflict in the North and East of Sri Lanka destroyed about 160,000 houses including 100,000 in the Northern Province. The project has now helped families in over 40 villages to rebuild their homes. It has been an important contribution to the Government of Sri Lanka’s efforts to ensure the Northern Province continues to recover from the impact of the conflict. In total, around 1,110 acutely vulnerable families received support to completely rebuild their homes while 2,675 families received support to undertake major repairs to their damaged houses.

It is estimated that around 12,000 people will live in these homes and each family has received LKR 325,000 for rebuild and repairs. Kamaladas Thyalini, a project beneficiary from the village Kallaru, said “My husband got killed during the war while we were crossing the border. I live with my parents and I have a kid. We were really disappointed and lost hopes till we found a solution from this project and now I have a home to live with my parents and my kid. Today I’m very happy and our own home has given us a sense of peace and security,” Mary Matali is another beneficiary of this project who got the opportunity to rebuild her house which got damaged during the war period.

“I was born here in Kallaru. Due to the war we could transfer many places like Manik Farm, Mulliwaikal, Iranamadu and so many other places. With the end of conflict we could again come to our land but when we return all destroyed. We were so helpless those days and we have nowhere else to go because all of our relations also were faced the same disaster as my family. However, I would be grateful to the Australian Government and UN-HABITAT for the support given for us to rebuild our whole life which got severely damaged due to the war. This has given us new courage and self confidence to face the future. I am proud to say that my family and I provided the majority of the labour required for the construction”

UN-HABITAT has been playing a key role in supporting thousands of Sri Lankan families to rebuild their lives and regain normalcy in post conflict and post disaster situations during the past three decades. The Australian Government and UN-HABITAT are continuing to work together through a second phase of the housing reconstruction program, to which the Australian Government has already contributed LKR 350 million.

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