Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Eighty keys

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Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, June 6, 2007 - "We had to start from scratch once again, luckily for us not without support," said Mariam holding up the key to her new house. Mariam's family is one of the eighty that were given a new house on their original land, after their old house was washed away by the Tsunami in December 2004. Matej Novak, Head of Mission of People in Need (PIN) in Sri Lanka, accompanied by local government representatives, handed over eighty keys to families who had spent more than 2 years in a temporary camp.

The eighty houses are located in Trincomalee district (in the eastern part of Sri Lanka), in a traditional fishing village, Annal Nagar, situated on the shore. During the Tsunami, Mariam lost two of her daughters. "My third daughter survived but lost her husband. She will not be able to secure funds for herself and her 3-year old daughter. So we are planning to live together again. I had a small grocery shop before the Tsunami and I am going to open one again - thanks to livelihood support of People In Need, " she adds.

The goal of PIN's projects in this area is to provide assistance to individuals and households to allow them to get back on their feet and once again live in dignified conditions. The housing project is followed by projects focusing on public infrastructure, individual livelihood assistance and support of business initiatives. "I am very happy that People In Need will continue to support this village. Its habitants made a living from fishing, which is currently restricted by security forces due to ongoing conflict at sea. Many of them had motor boats before the Tsunami guaranteeing their livelihoods. Now many seek for alternative agriculture activities or get involved in lagoon fishing with canoes, " said Mr. Nadarajah, the Additional Government Agent in Eastern province for the Tsunami, expressing his thanks.

The construction of new houses, each of which cost approximately 11 000 USD, came with a series of problems such as changing conditions and rules for Tsunami Housing in Sri Lanka. "Unfortunately many constructions have delays. Just half of the promised houses have been finished in this Division so far. People in Need with its 120 finished houses is one of the frontrunners," said Divisional Secretary for Kinniya, Mr. Mubarak, during his speech at the hand over ceremony. "We will soon finish the last group of 30 houses to which we committed in early 2005. For this group, we further increased the participation of future owners in designing and constructing the houses. This has proved to be a good approach in the past." adds PIN Head of Mission Matej Novak.

The main source of PIN funding in Sri Lanka comes from a public collection, SOS Sri Lanka, opened in the wake of the Tsunami, in which the Czech public donated more than 6 million USD for the reconstruction of the damaged coast.

For more information contact: Matej Novak, Head of Mission in Sri Lanka Cell: (+94) 773 548 425

For more information about People in Need's activities visit http://www.peopleinneed.cz.

Veronika Dvorackova