Sri Lanka

First beneficiaries of the Indian Housing Project receive their houses in Sri Lanka

Northern Province, Sri Lanka, 20 Feb 13

Less than six months after the commencement of the Indian Housing Project in the North of Sri Lanka, several home owners have already completed reconstructing their houses.

With technical support from UN-Habitat, Mr. V. Elumalaipillai from Killinochchi and Mr.Srikanatha Kandiah from Mullaitivu district were among the eight beneficiaries to successfully complete their houses in January 2013. In total, 40,000 houses will be constructed under this Phase of the Indian Housing Project in the districts of Jaffna, Killinochchi, Mannar, Mullaitivu and Killinochchi using a “home owner driven” process of reconstruction.

Mr. Kandiah is a skilled mason. At the end of the conflict, he and his wife returned to their village of Suthathirapuram colony with their three children. Being one of the first beneficiaries selected for housing support by the Indian Housing Project, the Kandiah family commenced construction on 26th October 2012. Being a skilled mason he undertook most of the construction thus helping the family optimize the financial grant of USD 10,000. The house was completed on 15th January 2013 and the family has now moved in to their brand new home.

Mr. Elumalaipillai was selected as a beneficiary in August 2012 to reconstruct his war damaged house. He received his first grant payment in September 2012 and commenced construction work with the assistance of the UN-Habitat field team, who helped the family select a suitable house plan and provided advice on the foundation work and building materials. Mr.Elumalaipillai and his wife Thavamanidevi were jointly responsible for the planning, organizing and construction of their house. The family also provided unskilled labour support which assisted with saving on labour costs.

Expressing her appreciation to the Indian Government, Thavamanidevi stated: “We desperately wanted a permanent house to live in. With the destruction caused by the war it was never within our reach. This was an opportunity for us to get involved in, provide maximum contribution and complete the house in a very short time. I thank the Indian Government for providing this opportunity and UN-Habitat for supporting and encouraging us to complete the house”.

The Indian Housing Project is funded by the Government of India and implemented through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL). Four Implementing Agencies (IAs) have been selected for this project, which is being executed in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. UN-Habitat is one of the Implementing agencies together with the International Federation for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in partnership with Sri Lanka Red Cross, the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) of the Government of Sri Lanka and Habitat for Humanity. The 36 month project kicked off mid-2012 and it’s envisaged to run till mid-2015. UN-Habitat is implementing the reconstruction and repair of 16,800 houses in the districts of Mullaitivu, Killinochchi and Jaffna.