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Australian High Commissioner Visits Housing Project in the North

May 30, 2012, Killinochchi, Sri Lanka. The Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Her Excellency Robyn Mudie, visited villages in Killinochchi and Vavuniya districts on 30th May 2012. During her visit she met conflict affected families who are repairing and rebuilding their homes through the project "Support to Conflict Affected People through Housing". Mrs. R. Ketheeswaran, the District Secretary of Killinochchi, and UN-Habitat staff also participated in the field visit.

The villages of Malayalapuram in Killinochchi and Mannakulam in Vavuniya are two of the 160 Grama Niladahri (GN) Divisions in the Northern Province that have received funding through this housing recovery initiative. With an investment of US$ 23 Million (SLRS. 2.5 Billion), the project is primarily funded by the European Union (EU) with co-funding from the Australian Government and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It is jointly implemented by UN-Habitat and SDC with the close participation of local communities. A total of 4,658 families will repair or reconstruct their homes in the districts of Vavuniya, Killinochchi, Mullaitivu and Mannar by the end of June 2013.

The Australian High Commissioner visited three families in Malayalapuram village in Killinochchi district who had recently repaired their war damaged homes. Each family had received financial assistance amounting to Rs.250,000 (approx. US$ 2,250).

Ms. Mudie also visited four families in Mannakulam village in Vavuniya district who had fully reconstructed their destroyed homes. The project had provided each family with financial assistance of Rs.500,000 (approx.US$ 4,000). The houses were ceremonially handed over to the home owners by the High Commissioner.

The beneficiary families in the Northern Province are constructing their own homes utilising a "home owner driven" process of reconstruction. Families utilise the financial grant to hire skilled labour and purchase building materials while contributing their own labour. Families are further supported by UN-Habitat and SDC with technical assistance on house plans, sourcing skilled labour, project management, purchase and selection of quality building materials and support with land ownership matters.

Mr.K. Subramanium, a project beneficiary and the president of VRC from Malayalapuram Village said "We are extremely happy to be part of this housing project and really appreciate the support from the donors. My family was closely involved in the repair of our home. Although I am a farmer, I assisted the mason with the construction work, while my son assisted the carpenter. My ultimate aim was to have a secure house where my family, especially my four daughters, could live safely. I am confident that my children will do well in their school work as there is sufficient space to study after repairing the house. We wish to thank the European Union, Australian Government and SDC for providing this support".

During the field visit, Ms. Mudie expressed her appreciation for the commitment and dedication demonstrated by the families in rebuilding their homes. She stated that the Government of Australia is pleased to partner with the European Union, SDC and UN-Habitat in supporting the recovery process in the Northern Province.

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