Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Joint Sri Lanka Red Cross Society and Indian government housing project to provide homes for returning families in post-conflict Sri Lanka


2 October 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka - The second phase of the Indian Housing Project, which will provide houses for 43,000 families displaced by 30 years of conflict and who have now returned home to the affected areas in Sri Lanka, was officially launched with the signing of an agreement between selected recipients of aid and the organizations leading the project. Launch events took place in the northern districts of Mannar, Mullativu and Jaffna.The main event in Jaffna was attended by Sri Lanka’s Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapakse, and the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, Ashok Kantha.



 Sri Lanka’s Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapakse, (centre with red scarf) the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, Ashok Kantha, to his right, speaks to Tissa Abbeywickrama, DG, Sri Lanka Red Cross (swaering badge) at the innauguration ceremony in Jaffna.

The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, in collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), is an implementing partner for this project and will be managing the construction or repair of 16,800 houses.
“Approximately 1,500 beneficiaries were selected to receive cash assistance from the Government of India under this project in the first lot. Funds for the first instalment of 100,000 Sri Lankan rupees (727 Swiss francs) have already been transferred into the bank accounts of beneficiaries and construction work on the ground will begin soon,” Ashok Kantha said.
The second phase of the Indian Housing Project adopts an owner-driven methodology, under which owner-beneficiaries are involved in the process of construction. A cash grant of LKR 550,000 (Approximately 4,000 Swiss Francs) is being provided for construction of a new house in instalments linked to progress in construction.

The Red Cross has completed almost 3000 houses under its post conflict recovery programme in the north to date, and this one is very similar to the ones to be constructed under the Indian Housing Programme. Photo: Bob McKerrow

“These houses are being built in partnership with the recipients,” Jagath Abeysinghe, President of Sri Lanka Red Cross Society said. “The project is implemented with an owner-driven approach which requires beneficiaries to be involved in and make decisions on all aspects of rebuilding their own homes, with the Red Cross providing technical assistance and support. This has proven to be a very successful method.”
The organization, under its post conflict recovery programme, has already supported the construction of 3,000 houses for the returnees. The programme seeks to address the complex needs of the people returning home after years of displacement – shelter, livelihoods, water and sanitation, health and care.
“Our approach has always been holistic. We do not disappear after simply constructing a house. We help families to restart a livelihood, which would eventually help them to regain control of their lives,” said Bob McKerrow, the IFRC Head of Delegation in Sri Lanka.
Meeting the prevalent humanitarian needs in the northern region of Sri Lanka is an on-going challenge for the Sri Lankan government and the humanitarian community. The IFRC launched a new appeal to raise additional funds to expand the Red Cross’ assistance and continue supporting vulnerable returnee families as needs remain enormous.

For more information, or to set up interviews, please contact:
In Colombo:
Mahieash Johnney 
Senior Manager, Communications and Humanitarian Diplomacy, IFRC Sri Lanka.
Mobile: + 94 773 502 156 – Email: mahieash.johnney@ifrc.org 

In New Delhi:
Taru Tuohiniemi 
South Asia Regional Communications & Advocacy Delegate, IFRC 
Mobile: + + 91 8130 660 555 – Email: taru.tuohiniemi@ifrc.org 

In Kuala Lumpur:
Reeni Amin Chua
Communications Officer, Asia Pacific, IFRC
Mobile: +60 19 274 4968 – Email: reeni.aminchua@ifrc.org

Patrick Fuller
Communications Manager, Asia Pacific, IFRC 
Mobile: +60 12 230 8451 – Email: patrick.fuller@ifrc.org

In Geneva:
Benoit Carpentier
Senior Communications Officer, IFRC
Mobile +41 (0)22 730 46 96 – Email: benoit.carpentier@ifrc.org

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