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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2641

UNDP assists tsunami affected fishermen in North-East Sri Lanka

Two Flake Ice Plants and a Seafood Collecting Centre were opened June 1, 2006 in the north-eastern district of Mullaitivu. The ice plants and collection centre were provided through the Japanese-funded Recovery of the Fisheries Sector project being implemented by UNDP.

Each Flake Ice Plant can produce and store up to five tons of Flake Ice for the use of fishermen. The two plants are situated in the villages of Vadduvakal and Alampil and serve nearly seven thousand members of the fisheries societies. Present on the occasion were Mrs. Emelda Sukumar, Government Agent, Mullaitivu; Mr. Kanakaratnam, Member of Parliament for Mullaitivu; officials of the Mullaitivu Fisheries Societies Union led by Mr. Mariarasa, President and a team from the UNDP led by Mr. Sanaka Samarasinha, Deputy Country Director, UNDP.

The two Flake Ice Plants are operated by 100 KVA Generators that would also supply electricity to the respective villages. The water for the plants is taken from newly dug wells where the water has been tested and found suitable for the purpose. “Engineers from the Chinese company that supplied the plants have already trained the staff on the operation and maintenance of the equipment as well as quality control,” says UNDP’s Project Manager for Fisheries, Lalith Wijeratne.

A Seafood Collecting Centre opened the same day, has facilities to wash, weigh and pack in ice; prawns and fish for transport to markets in Vavuniya and Colombo. The Centre will be operated by the Mullaitivu Fisheries Societies Union which also owns six refrigerated trucks (including four provided by UNDP) that will be used to transport the fish products.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, UNDP’s Deputy Country Director, Sanaka Samarasinha said, “The Ice Plant that we have opened today (at Vadduvakal) has been provided by the UNDP through funds received from the Government of Japan.” He said that of Rs. 400 million received by the UNDP from the Government of Japan after the tsunami, around Rs. 57 million was allocated to the Mullaitivu District. “Shortly after the tsunami, a damage assessment was conducted by the Government and the international community and it was decided that in proportional terms, the destruction that the country had suffered was approximately sixty percent in the north-east and forty percent in the south. Because of this assessment, UNDP has ensured that the resources that we have for tsunami recovery have been divided around the same lines,” Samarasinha added.

A Fish Auction Room for tsunami affected fishermen was also opened in Chullipuram, Jaffna on the 2nd of June. The Auction Room was built by the Allaimahal Fisheries Cooperative Society in Chullipuram with funds provided by the Japanese-funded Recovery of the Fisheries Sector project. The Auction Room will cater to the needs of the Society’s 160 members and will also be open to the 40 non-members of the fisheries community in the area. Speaking at the occasion, President of the Society, Mr. Kulasingham expressed his thanks to the Government of Japan and UNDP for the assistance provided. He also outlined the various difficulties faced by the fishermen due to the restrictions arising out of the prevailing security situation.

UNDP is providing approximately US$ 2.87 million to the Mullaitivu district and US$ 2.75 million to the Jaffna district to assist their recovery from the devastating effects of the tsunami. This includes support to a wide range of activities including housing and infrastructure reconstruction, livelihood regeneration, micro-credit facilities, disaster risk management and capacity development of the public sector and community-based organizations.

United Nations Development Program (UNDP): is the UN’s global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges.

- Asian Tribune -

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