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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2586

American Red Cross provides US $10 Million to boost tsunami housing in Sri Lanka

Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 06 December, (Asiantribune.com): The American Red Cross yesterday announced that it will make a contribution of US $10 million to support housing reconstruction in Sri Lanka through an owner-driven housing program. The contribution will assist more than 3,000 tsunami-affected families in repairing or rebuilding their homes.

"This program is going to have a dramatic impact on tsunami survivors, helping them rebuild their homes and, ultimately, their lives," said Ricardo Caivano, Senior Field Representative in Sri Lanka for the American Red Cross Tsunami Recovery Program. "We look forward to working closely with our partners and especially the beneficiaries asthey return to permanent houses, which is a vital step in their recovery."

The American Red Cross contribution will support the Community Recovery and Reconstruction Partnership (CRRP), which is led by the Sri Lankan Red Cross Society (SLRCS), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (Federation) and UN-HABITAT. Other partners in the CRRP include the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the World Bank and Price Waterhouse Coopers.

Under the CRRP, individuals whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the tsunami will receive cash grants combined with technical support. Through these grants, homeowners will be able to hire contractors directly and purchase building materials. Funds will be transferred in stages, as each phase of construction is evaluated by professional monitors to ensure it is technically sound and meets local standards. In addition to grants, homeowners will receive technical assistance in a number of areas, including: construction, land disputes, disaster preparedness, water and sanitation, and livelihoods.

"Through this program the Red Cross is providing immediate support to homeowner reconstruction, while empowering beneficiaries in their own recovery," explained Jagath Abeysinghe, President of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society. "This is the fastest and most effective way to rebuild following the tsunami devastation."

As of October 2006, Red Cross partners have either fully funded or co-financed the construction of 5,450 houses in Sri Lanka. 7,655 houses are currently under construction and, by 2008, it is anticipated that the Red Cross will have built, fully-funded or helped to finance more than 20,000 homes.

"The Red Cross and its partners are helping survivors take an active role in developing their community and basic infrastructure," said Al Panico, Head of Delegation for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Sri Lanka. "This is essential for a successful and sustainable recovery."

In Sri Lanka, the American Red Cross is working with the SLRCS and other partners to carry out tsunami recovery programs aimed to benefit more than 420,000 people. In addition to housing, the American Red Cross is focusing on areas such as clean water, psychosocial support, livelihoods and disaster preparedness to ensure a comprehensive and long-lasting recovery for tsunami survivors.

- Asian Tribune -

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