Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: A new bus service for tsunami relocated in Payagala estate

A new bus service was introduced for the first time to help 300 residents living in the tsunami relocated of the Payagala watte who had up to now make a treacherous to walk of 8 km to reach school daily or to the nearest town to buy provisions.

Payagala watta, is a tsunami relocation housing scheme with 56 houses build by the Sri Lanka Red Cross with the support of Belgian Red Cross / IFRC programme which was competed and handed over early 2008. While the houses built included all the facilities including water and sanitation facilities, electricity and roads, there was no public transport services in the area.

In response to the requests made by the residents regarding this hardship, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society acting on their behalf was able to arrange a new bus service from Kalutara to this housing scheme with support of local Central Transport Board authorities, bringing benefits not only to residents in Payagala estate tsunami housing scheme but also to neighboring villagers as well.

It was a pleasant scene of the smiling faces of 300 residents of Payagala estate tsunami housing scheme when they witnessed the arrival of a bus to their doorstep at the inauguration on 16th of September. The bus service provided by Kalutara CTB Depot started with happy villagers gathered at the community centre with refreshments for CTB and Red Cross representatives and other invitees, which was followed by some of the adults and children joining the maiden tour to Kalutara.

One resident Ms Deepthi Silva said that this service will bring great benefit to our community and help rebuild our lives that was destroyed by the tsunami. We are thankful to the Red Cross and the Kalutara bus depot for getting us this service. We can now send our children to school on time and they will not be tired when they get to school in the morning".