Sri Lanka

UNDP Sri Lanka: Update of Tsunami Recovery Programme 6 Jun 2005

With the tsunami disaster's emergency relief and response phase almost complete, UNDP, Sri Lanka is entering the rehabilitation stage with a support package for managing, planning and monitoring recovery. As at June 6, 2005, UNDP has received US $ 20.7 million in donor assistance of which US $ 1.8 million has been spent.
The following projects are UNDP's key contributions in the past six months:

Cash for Work:

Tsunami survivors in seven of the worst affected districts of Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Tricomalee, Batticaloa, Ampara, Hambantota and Galle have participated in cash for work programmes to clear coastal debris and restore the environment.

Some 3, 490 people in 25 divisions (groups of villages) have participated in 25 completed and ongoing debris clearance projects.

UNDP has spent an estimated US $519, 786 on completed and ongoing projects creating 88, 603 work days.

Three more debris clearance projects are in the pipeline. They will target 200 people in the southern Galle district and will cost about US $ 33,118.

Equal Access to Justice:

Seven mobile legal documentation camps were held in March and April in the southern Hambantota and eastern Ampara districts.

About 26,000 tsunami victims who had lost legal documents such as national identity cards, birth/marriage/death certificates, driving licenses, passports, educational certificates in the disaster were helped.

Government officials from the Department of Registration of Persons, Registrar General's Department, Police Department, Motor Traffic Department, Labour Department, Finance Ministry, Department of Pensions, Department of Examinations and legal aid organizations were taken by UNDP from Colombo to issue new documents and to give advice.

UNDP plans to conduct similar mobile camps in the northeastern district of Mullaitivu.

Capacity Building:

At the government's request, UNDP is providing assistance to the government agents in each district to develop district reconstruction plans aligned with the National Reconstruction Plan.

Teams will be deployed to all the districts in July.

UNDP is facilitating a two-day workshop shortly for district and divisional level officials i.e. government agents, ministry officials, provincial and municipal council members and police, to identify some of the capacity gaps and needs.

UNDP has drafted a framework for district and local capacity building that includes information management, project planning and management, IT and disaster risk management.

The project will set up small teams of specialists and managers in each district some of whom will be UNVs. The final framework will be available in the next two weeks.

A US $650,000 PA has begun which includes the provision of basic equipment to divisional secretariats worst hit by the tsunami and capacity building of CBOs.

Aid Tracking:

UNDP is helping the government's main agency for tsunami recovery, TAFREN (Task Force for Rebuilding the Nation), set up a database management system that will track the progress of donor funded projects in keeping with the state's policy of transparency and accountability in tsunami-related funding.

Non-governmental organizations, bilateral and multilateral agencies have begun to send project data to the Donor Assisted Database (DAD) which will be accessible to the public by the end of July 2005.

The web-based system is estimated to cost around US$ 400,000.

Local government officials and NGO personnel are now being trained to provide and access the information.

Housing Projects:

Under the Transition Programme, 248 new houses are to be built in the tsunami-affected areas.

The project has been delayed due to land availability issues and buffer zone regulations. Nevertheless, action has been taken in terms of the following initiatives:

- UNDP will begin exploring private partnerships for housing reconstruction in three weeks in three selected areas along the southern and western coast (Morotuwa, Kalutara, Galle).

- Surveying of land and community consultation to begin construction is ongoing.

65 houses have been repaired.

Under the Governance Programme, the construction and repair of 200 houses have already begun and work on another 1,800 houses will begin shortly in the southern and northeastern areas.

Tsunami-affected people themselves are providing labour for the project.

People's Consultations:

A UNDP-funded public consultation project is due to start in July. It aims to increase participation of the affected communities in the rebuilding process.

Some 50 persons have been trained to implement the project in 1,100 villages through 460 focus groups in all the tsunami affected districts.

The Human Rights Commission with the University of Colombo and four other regional universities (Jaffna, Eastern, South Eastern and Ruhuna) in collaboration with the government and civil society are carrying out the consultations.

Workshops will identify the primary relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction needs of each community, particularly in resettlement. The Project funding is at ACP.

The consultations will include:

- Discussions with Internally Displaced Persons

- Discussions with host communities (those communities that will be affected by tsunami-related resettlement)

- Discussions with local and national government representatives

- Discussions with community leaders and representatives from civil society and international agencies.

Disaster Risk Management and UNV Deployment:

UNDP provided secretarial support and served as the clearinghouse for up-to-date information on the status of needs and donor emergency relief efforts.

The meetings (with donors and other partners) provided a ready forum for the work of the UNDAC Team and the coordination of rapid assessment missions to each of the affected districts.

The following are some specific areas of UNDP support:

Response Coordination and Information Management Support through UN Volunteers:

UNDP redeployed four National UN Volunteers trained in disaster risk management to the affected districts of Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Ampara and Matara to provide immediate support to the District Secretaries in coordinating information on damage and emerging relief needs.

UNDP also mobiilized six specialist UNVs from India and Kenya who worked closely with the government at the national and district level providing critical support in coordinating emergency response.

UNDP continues to provide coordination support to the district administration through its National UN Volunteers in eight district secretariats in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Ampara, Hambantota, Matara, Galle and Kalutara.

In collaboration with the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), UNDP launched a website on the disaster: The website served temporarily as an information-sharing platform for the government, international community as well as civil society organizations.

UNDP also created an electronic forum (email group) for facilitating information sharing among various actors in the initial response.

Support to the Centre for National Operations (CNO):

UNDP provided technical support to set up the Centre for National Operations to support the emergency relief efforts which includes infrastructure assistance such as computers, printers and other equipment.

UNDP also provided periodic sector-wise and district-wise reports on the response and needs, collated from various sources to CNO for dissemination.

Support to the Parliament Select Committee on Natural Disasters:

UNDP is providing support to the Select Committee in drafting reports/recommendations on natural disasters and on establishing early warning systems in Sri Lanka.

An assessment of Sri Lanka's existing capacities for multi-hazard early warning is being carried out which has also highlighted areas where tangible improvements can be achieved in a short period of time.

The initial support provided to district administration in the response phase will continue as comprehensive support through the UN Volunteers in the recovery phase in all affected districts.