Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Weekly Humanitarian Overview - Galle District No. 3, 18 - 24 Jul 2005

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HIGHLIGHTS
Urban Development Authority (UDA) has re-issued policy guidelines on Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Tsunami Affected Areas for permanent housing. These policy guidelines are available on hard copy at the THRU (Tsunami Housing Reconstruction Unit) office and OCHA office at the District Secretary.

TAFREN and National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) through their THRU offices have released leaflets to be distributed to beneficiaries and the population at large giving information regarding eligibility and criteria for government compensation grants to people whose homes were damaged during the tsunami. The leaflet is in Sinhalese.

Over the last few weeks there is a feel of renewal and return to normalcy in Galle Town, with recent opening of stalls in the Fish Market on Main Street, sponsored by many organizations and private companies such as Deutsche Bank and World Vision, as well as new trade stalls along the coast. A fresh coat of paint has also been put on all crossings on the roads, initiated by the Road Development Authority (RDA).

HOUSING AND SHELTER

NHDA and TAFREN's information leaflet asks the question, "Did you receive the compensation payment by the government for your house destroyed by the tsunami?" It goes on to say that one can apply for a maximum of Rs 250,000 when a destroyed house was situated out side the buffer zone. The eligibility of such assistance is:

1. Legitimate ownership of the land (if the deed of your land is destroyed by tsunami you can get the land ownership approval through the Divisional Secretary).

2. House was destroyed by the tsunami

3. A Sri Lankan Citizen and permanent resident. It is important to note that under the concept of "House to House", even though there are many families living in the same house, only the grant for one house would be provided.

Assessments of the damaged houses have been conducted previously, but it was felt necessary to explain the procedure once more for those who had felt they had not received the full grant they are entitled to. The procedure is that a DAT (Damage Assessment Team consisting of Divisional Technical Officers (selected by NHDA), Grama Niladari (GNs), a representative from the Donor forum (aid agency, NGO, independent organization, donor country) a member of the Village Rehabilitation Committee) would be deployed in each affected GN division. Members of the DAT team would personally visit, assess and estimate the damages of the houses in all GN divisions affected by tsunami. The DAT would assess eligibility to receive the grant (Need acceptable proof for the above mentioned criteria, and amount of damage to the house, all of which is under the assessment of the NHDA.

While NHDA assesses damaged houses and determines compensation grants, UDA's major tasks is the enforcement of planning and building regulations for the Conservation Zone, otherwise popularized as the 100m buffer zone. UDA is the government authority to facilitate permanent relocation for affected families living in the Conservation Zone, as well as give approval to reconstruction of damaged houses in affected areas with regards to legality and eligibility of deeds in relation to land. UDA is also responsible for the reconstruction of townships.

The main policy guidelines for housing is as follows: that all families in 100m for Galle District whose house have completely damaged will be provided with safe houses outside the Conservation Zone by the Government. Those who are willing to construct their own houses the 100m zone will be given a grant payment of Rs250,000 financial assistance and if necessary concessionary loans by state banks.

PROTECTION AND PSYCHOSOCIAL

UNICEF reported positive progress in the protection for children through UNICEF programmes with the District Child Probation centres. Matters regarding childcare and child protection have been under discussion with the District Secretary in order to embark on implementation of programmes with international NGOs.

Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) is making efforts to collect existing data on the number of disabled persons in Galle District post-tsunami. Enquiries have been made to relevant health authorities, however the only available baseline data was taken in 2001. Nevertheless, it is still felt to be valuable and useful data, to be used as comparison to when an assessment and collecting of current data is to be conducted. For the moment, the government will investigate who would be the most appropriate body to conduct the statistics. CHF, as lead agency in division Ambalangoda and Balapitiya have requested Divisional Secretaries to provide segregated data on persons with vulnerabilities, either single parent families, the elderly, persons with physical disabilities etc. Data from some divisions will be ready next week. At the same time, health authorities and social welfare department has also been sought to obtain these figures.

LIVELIHOOD, FISHERY AND AGRICULTURE

Although there have been many fishing boats and equipment distributed over the last six months, tracking down and collecting data on who the recipients are, and which organizations have provided the boats is difficult and is still being tackled by FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation). Discussions on the distribution of low quality fishing boats and equipment has been raised repeatedly as it presents a danger to the fishermen, and it leaves the fishermen unqualified for compensation or insurance should an accident occur. Department of Fisheries will develop a minimum standard and quality for boats and will provide to organizations requesting it, as well as providing marine certificates where necessary. Furthermore, the Department of Fisheries has a list of registered suppliers of fishing boats authorized with marine certificates. The deadline for the completrion of the FAO database is October 2005, although any information requested before the deadline will be shared.

The Department of Agriculture has current on-going activities with FAO assisting 1700 farmers, as well as providing seeds and agricultural equipment for 400 acres of paddy cultivation. There are future plans for an organic farming project where technical assistance might be provided directly from the department.

The Department of Fisheries and Agriculture will arrange for a separate coordinating mechanism within TAFREN Livelihoods and the District Secretariat. The first meeting will be attended by Mr. N.P.V. Fernando, National Project Coordinator, of FAO, and the topic of discussion will be on interventions and updates of fishery and agriculture activities in Galle District, and what is there more to do for other organizations.

Storage trucks wait by the coast to load fish and other seafood from the boats as soon as they come in from sea, to markets and other buyers.

OTHER NEWS

WHAT'S NEW ON HIC SRI LANKA

See the online version at: http://www.humanitarianinfo.org/srilanka

20 JULY 2005 - UNHCR GUIDELINES ON QUALITY, STANDARDS AND UPGRADING OF TRANSITIONAL SHELTERS
19 JULY 2005 - FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT CLINTON ADDRESSES UNITED NATIONS MEMBER STATES ON TSUNAMI RECOVERY
19 JULY 2005 - DS DIVISIONAL LEVEL W3 MAPS
19 JULY 2005 - KILINOCHCHI MEETING SCHEDULE 22-28 JULY

On Sunday,17July 2005, two aid agencies battled it out on the cricket filed when Community Habitat Finance (CHF) challenged Project Galle 2005 (PG05) at the Kogalla Field, in Galle Four Gravats. Both were in good form and strengthened by both international staff and national Sri Lankan staff. The final winning team was PG05, by a very close margin. Both CHF and PG05 are involved in providing transitional shelters, drainage and overcoming problems of water and sanitation in Galle District.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.