EU to help war displaced

The European Union (EU) and UN-Habitat signed an agreement to assist 4,000 families in North and East Sri Lanka to rebuild permanent houses in their villages of origin.

This commitment builds on the success of past and ongoing EU-funded housing programmes undertaken in close cooperation with the Government of Sri Lanka, Implementing Partners and other local stakeholders.

On occasion of the new housing agreement, the EU Ambassador Bernard Savage said: “I am extremely pleased with the signature of this new agreement which constitutes the fourth major housing reconstruction programme funded by the EU since 2006. By 2015, the EU will have financially assisted 20,000 families in North and East Sri Lanka to rebuild their houses, many of whom have endured displacement for over a decade. The EU’s total contribution to housing will amount to approximately LKR 7.5 billion (EUR 50 million). These grants add up to ongoing EU-funded programmes (approximately LKR 19 billion or EUR 120 million) supporting livelihoods and socio-economic development in selected districts. By moving from humanitarian assistance to long-term sustainable development projects, the EU will have significantly helped Sri Lanka achieve its main development targets by the year 2016”.

The new housing programme will last until mid-2015. The EU contribution of LKR 1.9 billion (EUR 12 million) will be complemented with funds from the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and the Australian Aid (AusAid).

The construction will continue to take place on the basis of the “Owner-Driven Housing Reconstruction” (ODHR) in which owners are granted the funds and with the technical help of UN-Habitat and SDC, contribute their labour, time and resources to ensure the success and completion of the process.

Construction standards and the selection of beneficiaries will also take place on the basis of the government’s former housing programme, NEHRP (North East Housing Reconstruction Programme) which was implemented by the World Bank and co-funded by the EU under the first EU housing programme. Priority will continue to be given to households most in need.