Sri Lanka: Building back better in Trincomalee
CARE's work in the area builds on our immediate relief in the days following the disaster with long-term rehabilitation projects to help families get back on their feet. Our vision is to use this tragedy as a catalyst for positive change - rather than just helping those affected by the tsunami return to their previous lives, we're helping them "build back better" to achieve a higher standard of living than they had before the disaster.
CARE's Work in the Trincomalee District
Immediately following the disaster, CARE distributed emergency relief supplies, including clothing, mosquito nets and bottled water to 8,203 families in the area.
CARE helped construct transitional housing for over 1,000 people who lost their homes to the tsunami. The transitional buildings are constructed with high-quality building materials that can be reused when families relocate to permanent housing. People from the affected communities played a role in designing and building the shelters, ensuring that they met community needs for privacy and security. Going forward, CARE plans to construct 591 permanent homes for families in the area.
CARE has constructed latrines, wells and water storage tanks for communities living in transitional shelters. Community-based groups are helping to promote good hygiene and sanitary practices and maintain the new facilities.
Over 580 people from 12 villages were employed by CARE to clear garbage and debris from roads and farmland. The projects bring communities together around a common goal, while the money earned helps people meet their daily needs.
CARE helped some 3,500 people regain their livelihoods by providing tools, supplies and cash grants. Survivors in fishing communities were given new boats, outboard motors and fishing gear, while farming families received cash grants along with tools and irrigation equipment. Over 270 families received grants and training to help them start small businesses such as stores, bakeries and bicycle repair shops.
Other CARE programs supported schools and provided psychosocial support for those affected by the tsunami, especially people living in transitional shelters.
Success Story: Muthukumar Sets Up Shop
Before the tsunami, Muthukumar was a hairdresser in the community of Verugal Mugathuvaram. "My house was my own, and I had a hairdressing center nearby," he says. "Everything was lost and the tsunami left us with nothing. My family and I were lucky - we survived."
Today, Muthukumar is working again, running a hairdressing business he financed with a cash grant from CARE. His tools - a razor, a spray bottle and a jar of hair tonic - lie neatly on the windowsill of his new shop, next to a mirror in which customers can watch as Muthukumar works. "CARE helped me set up this shop," he says. "They gave me 10,000 SLR [about $100], which allowed me to build all this." He is the only hairdresser for several miles, and business is booming.
"I want to expand," Muthukumar says with a smile. "I have three kids and they need many things... the only way to keep up is by improving my shop and getting more customers." Fortunately, Muthukumar seems well-positioned to do just that: If there's one thing the tsunami didn't change, it's that sooner or later, everyone needs a haircut.