Sri Lanka Red Cross expanding support to help more returnees

By Mahieash Johnney, Communications & Information Manager in Colombo, Sri Lanka

17.07.2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) working in partnership with the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) signed an agreement with the Government of India to reach out to more families affected by the conflict in Sri Lanka.

The Project supported by the Government of India envisages construction and repair of 43,000 housing units in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. It targets the most vulnerable families, selected through a transparent process on the basis of clearly defined criteria. The construction and repair of the houses will be undertaken by the beneficiaries themselves through the owner-driven approach, which empowers people to take the lead in rebuilding their own houses. The Red Cross provides technical assistance and support.

The agreement between the IFRC and the Government of India was signed last Friday in Colombo and was witnessed by Sri Lanka’s Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapakse & The High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha.

“This is a massive project that is undertaken by the Government of India to help the people of Sri Lanka who have suffered years of war and displacement” says Bob McKerrow, Head of Delegation of IFRC in Sri Lanka.

“The Red Cross has been at the forefront of providing relief and reconstruction support to the most vulnerable in Sri Lanka and with this generous support by the Government of India, we will be able to reach out to more people”

The construction of 43,000 houses for resettlement and rehabilitation of IDPs in Northern and Eastern Provinces is part of the overall commitment to build 50,000 houses announced by Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh during the State visit of the President of Sri Lanka to India H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa in June 2010.

The Red Cross will be constructing 16,800 houses from the total amount. Beneficiaries will receive 550,000 LKR (4,050 CHF) while a grant of 250,000 LKR (1,900 CHF) will be given to repair the house.

To hear the stories of the people with whom the Red Cross is working, follow the link below.

The story told by Marimuththu Puwathi is one, but there are many more. Marimuththu talks about her life today in Karainagar, Jaffna. Her husband died during the war. She is living alone with her daughter in a make-shift shelter, which offers a flimsy protection.  Life has been hard on her but she is determined against all odds to rebuild. She and her daughter, who works in an onion farm in Jaffna, several kilometres away have completed a foundation of a house they has started to build with funding provided by the Red Cross. The job at the farm is the only source of income for the two courageous ladies.

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