The Indian Ocean Tsunami waves hit the Sri Lankan Coastal belt on the 26th of December 2004. While the majority of the country has recovered from this disaster, the worst of its kind in the history of the isle, there are still quite a few victims left behind. One would hardly expect the commercial and administrative heart of Sri Lanka, Colombo district to be still reeling from the effects of the catastrophic event which left over 100,000 families’ homeless.
As many as 4024 families are still left without adequate solutions to their shelter needs. According to the latest (01st June 2007) Tsunami Housing Progress Report of UN-Habitat, there are still 862 families languishing in transitional shelters. Scarcity of land and high property values of capital city have been the key reasons behind the snail paced progress of the rebuilding in the Colombo District. Families who lived in the buffer zone on the coastal belt, railway and road reservations are amongst the worst affected.
The Government of Sri Lanka in an effort to alleviate the situation offered these families with a land procurement grant of Rs. 250,000/=. However the high property values eradicate any possibility of land procurement with this amount. Consequently, a number of families have purchased land for rebuilding in rural areas in the adjoining Kalutara District.
Still living in transitional shelters, these families were not in a position to build their houses on the new sites, thanks to lack of funds for construction. They had exhausted their own resources and are too poor and do not have adequate collateral to even obtain loans. These families, who pursued informal livelihoods, have lost their income altogether.
UN-Habitat, having recognized the initiative of the families who purchased land in the Kalutara district, formed and presented a project proposal to the Japanese Red Cross through IFRC for the provision of a full housing construction grant. This proposal has now been accepted and is being implemented under the Community Recovery and Reconstruction Partnership (CRRP), for 231 families in 19 locations. The total construction grant received by each beneficiary family is :
- Housing Construction Grant (in four instalments) : Rs. 533,000/=
- For Sanitary Latrine : Rs. 50,000/=
For these beneficiaries construction of their houses in new locations is only one hurdle. They are now far removed from their coastal habitat and need to build their livelihoods anew in totally alien rural environs, with different norms, attitudes and patterns of behaviour. On the other hand, the existing rural communities have to absorb these families from their former city oriented patterns of living in to a rural way of life.
A list of the Japanese Red Cross funded (full grant) projects are given below:
|Project No||Project Name||No. of Beneficiaries||Donor|
|KLT 11||Welikala||45||Japanese RC|
|KLT 12||Rigamwatta||23||Japanese RC|
|KLT 13||Delgahawatta||14||Japanese RC|
|KLT 14||Gorakagahalanda||05||Japanese RC|
|KLT 15||Indunil Uyana||11||Japanese RC|
|KLT 16||Heenwagurupillewa||05||Japanese RC|
|KLT 17||Koongahawatta||04||Japanese RC|
|KLT 18||Sooriyapurawara||08||Japanese RC|
|KLT 19||Maswila||06||Japanese RC|
|KLT 20||Thanipolgahawatta||10||Japanese RC|
|KLT 21||Weralugaha godella||26||Japanese RC|
|KLT 22||Kahatagahalanda||07||Japanese RC|
|KLT 23||Kalugetahena||06||Japanese RC|
|KLT 24||Kahawitagehena||12||Japanese RC|
|KLT 25||Galewatta||14||Japanese RC|
|KLT 26||Duwewatta||09||Japanese RC|
|KLT 27||Liyangodakanatta||11||Japanese RC|
|KLT 28||Gorakathudewawatta||10||Japanese RC|
|KLT 29||Gonagahakanatta||05||Japanese RC|