UNOPS suspends post tsunami school reconstruction projects in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Monday, 31 December 2007, 18:35 GMT]
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) suspended its construction works in two schools in Vaveddiththu'rai (VVT) in Vadamaraadchi that were affected by Tsunami, due to the prevailing unstable condition in Jaffna peninsula besides encountering difficulties in procuring construction materials for its school building projects, education officials in Vadamaraadchi said. The latest suspension of Tsunami projects in VVT comes as many International NGOs and local agencies, which had engaged in Tusnami relief and rehabilitation projects in the peninsula, had already stopped their work due to the abnormal atmosphere prevailing in the Sri Lanka Army controlled Jaffna.

UNOPS had begun construction of school buildings for Sivakuru Viththiyaalayam and the Roman Catholic School at Valveddiththu'rai in Vadamaraadchi.

These two schools operate in temporary sheds now.

The construction work has been suspended by UNOPS and the work remains at foundation level.

The UNOPS officials did not comment on being asked whether the projects have been completely abandoned with the funds allocated going unused.

The projects have been handed over the construction work to the Education Department in Jaffna, they said.

Though many organizations had volunteered to build houses for Tsunami victims in Vadamaraadchi, not even a third of the houses needed have been completed.

The NGOs and agencies have suspended the service of their local staff and sent back their foreign personnel back to their countries because of the risky atmosphere prevailing in Jaffna peninsula, civil society sources in Jaffna said.

Even local building materials like sand and bricks needed for construction work are difficult to obtain while a bag of cements is sold around 2000 rupees in Jaffna when it is available for 600 rupees in Colombo.

Closure of A9 land route, the only trunk road to Jaffna from rest of Sri Lanka, since August 2006, has halted the flow of essential food provisions, and medical supplies to Jaffna Peninsula. Colombo has continued to ignore the pleas of the civil society and aid agencies to open the A9 land route.


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