UNHCR outlines development plans
[TamilNet, Monday, 15 February 1999, 20:50 GMT]
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, (UNHCR), signed an agreement today with the Resettlement and Rehabilitation Authority of the North (RRAN) contributing Rupees 77,683,007 towards the rehabilitation of communities and to assist people in the conflict affected areas in the Vanni and the Jaffna peninsula.
In the Vanni these funds will be used to maintain and operate the facilities at the Open Relief Centres and Welfare Centres, to provide emergency relief and temporary shelter to civilians affected by the conflict.
A press conference was held at the Colombo office of the UNHCR later.
These funds represent the contributions of donors worldwide to the UNHCR program.
In 1998, UNHCR provided assistance amounting to Rupees 84,783,200 through RRAN which was funded by the following major donors: Australia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America and the European Union, states a press release by the UNHCR office.
The funds will be administered through the RRAN, which is the main UNHCR government counterpart.
Funds released through the RRAN will be used by the Government Agents/ District Secretary Office to promote and facilitate rehabilitation of communities and to enable approximately 400,000 persons to restart life by rebuilding social and economic infrastructure.
In addition, Rupees 169,942,523 will be provided to national and international NGOs to undertake specific projects in the districts of Killinochchi, Mannar, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Trincomalee, in partnership with local populations to build community capacity, improve skills and assist people to take responsibility for their own well being.
This assistance is provided with the aim of promoting a stable and secure environment for civilians which is an important first step on the road towards a normal life, the press release says.
In Jaffna, humanitarian assistance is provided through small-scale projects to facilitate the restarting of sustainable livelihoods for returnees.
This programme, implemented through the government agents apparatus has proven very effective at " kick-starting" the rehabilitation to normal life for families returning to their places of origin after years of displacement.
In view of the large number of families who returned to the peninsula in the past two years, the assistance, as identified and assessed by people within the community, covers several key sectors such as shelter, water, basic infrastructure, education, fisheries, health, crops and income generation.
The income generation sector is particularly important and effective at offering vulnerable groups such as widows and single parent households the means and opportunity to establish small-scale business that generate sustainable and viable incomes for the families, the press release concludes.