EU eases Lanka’s burden

Post-war NE housing:


By Shamindra Ferdinando

EU Amb. Bernard Savage attends a ceremony to hand over newly built houses

In spite of Sri Lanka and the EU being on a collision course over the alleged accountability issues, the latter is going ahead with a significant house building project in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The project envisages building and repairing about 20,000 houses by 2016.

The EU project is one of the major activities launched in 2008 after the liberation of the Eastern Province in mid 2007.

An EU spokesperson told The Island that 8,532 houses had been built in the two provinces in line with the North East Housing Reconstruction Programme (NEHRP) in 2008 and 2009.

The EU launched its programme at the height of the Vanni campaign, though some had been skeptical about the project.

Responding to a query, the spokesperson said that of the 8,532 houses the majority had been funded in the Batticaloa district (3,347) followed by Ampara (3,246), Trincomalee (1,154), Vavuniya (529), Jaffna (224) and Mannar (32).

After the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the EU launched another project to construct about 2,500 houses in the Vavuniya district. The EU said 518 houses had been already built under this project and was scheduled to be implemented in 2010 and 2011.

Sri Lanka’s efforts to provide housing to those living in war affected districts had been greatly strengthened by international support, senior official said.

The EU is implementing a separate project to build or repair about 4,400 houses in the one-time LTTE strongholds in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi districts.

The EU said that about 5,000 houses would be built mainly in the Northern Province and some in the East in 2012 and 2013.

 Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa recently joined Ambassador Bernard Savage, Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives at a ceremony to mark the handing over of 109 houses to beneficiaries in the Vavuniya district. The EU said that this was part of the project to build 2,500 houses in the Vavuniya district at a cost of Rs. 1.86 billion. It is implemented by

Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland (ASB).

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