February 2012, Mullaitivu, Sri Lanka. A delegation from the European Union visited Koolamurippu village in Mullaitivu district recently to discuss housing progress with conflict affected families who are reconstructing their homes. Koolamurippu is one of 60 villages in the Northern Province that has received funding through the housing recovery initiative “Support to Conflict Affected People through Housing” to reconstruct and repair war damaged houses.
This project, with an investment of US$ 23 Million (SLRS. 2.5 Billion) is primarily funded by the European Union with co-funding from the Australian Government and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It is jointly implemented by UN-Habitat and SDC in collaboration with the local communities.
The beneficiary families in the Northern Province are constructing their own homes utilising a “home owner driven” people’s process of reconstruction, contributing their own labour towards the construction process. Each family is being provided with financial assistance amounting to Rs.500,000 (approx.US$ 4,500) to fully reconstruct a house, and Rs.250,000 (approx. US$ 2,250) for house repair through the project. Currently, the project is assisting over 1,200 families to reconstruct and repair their houses in Mullaitivu district. Families are further supported by UN-Habitat and SDC with technical assistance on house plans, sourcing skilled labour, project management, purchase and selection of quality building materials and support with land ownership matters.
All families have demonstrated significant progress since construction in the village began in August 2011. The majority of houses under construction in Koolamurippu have reached roof level. During the field visit, the EU delegation expressed their appreciation for the commitment and dedication of the families towards their own recovery.
The EU delegation included Mr. Willy Vandenberghe, First Counsellor and Head of Operations for the EU Delegation in Sri Lanka, Mr.Andre Debongnie, EU Desk Officer for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and Ms. Simona Mari, Head of Sector for MIC in Asia.
This unique partnership of the European Union, Australian Government, SDC and UN-Habitat, has to-date supported 3,000 families in the districts of Vavuniya, Killinochchi and Mullaitivu, with work in Mannar to commence shortly. In total, the project will assist over 4,600 families to rebuild their homes within a period of two and a half years.