Houses handed over to the disaster victims in Indonesia and Sri Lanka

It has been about two and a half years since the earthquake and Tsunami struck off the coast of Sumatra Island. The Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) has been supporting to provide about 2000 houses with the disaster victims in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Indonesia

In Indonesia, 50 houses were completed in Aceh Barat District by 24 May and 90 houses in Simeulue District, by 7 June. The total number of houses completed and handed over to the disaster affected people has now reached 332, including 192 houses handed over in last August.

"Thanks to the JRCS, we are finally ready for a stable life in our new house. We will keep our house clean and work hard to make our life better". A representative of the new residents expressed his gratitude at the handing-over ceremony delivered in Simeulue District. Some other residents participating in the ceremony were moved to tears because they have been longing to have their own houses. They bring new life to their houses by putting colorful curtains on the windows and some plants around their houses.

In Aceh Barat District, 281 more houses are going to be completed in August and 449 in Simeulue District by September.

Sri Lanka

Also in Sri Lanka, the handing-over ceremony for the delivery of 109 houses was held in Trincomalee on 24 June, 2007. Following the first delivery of 62 houses in September 2006, this brought the total number of the houses delivered to 171. The long-awaited day finally came after enduring worsening security a number of times. Last year, conflicts between the Sri Lankan Government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) intensified again, obliging the Red Cross delegates to evacuate temporarily to Colombo.

Ms. Nimari, a female leader of the 5th Mile Post site, one of the new housing sites, commented on the new houses delivered, "Now we can settle down comfortably. The JRCS was considerate enough to take our opinions into account in building these houses. So we feel greatly attached to our houses." But she also explained about anxiety regarding the future, "Since we have to live far from the sea, we are worried about how to earn our living and how to get the means of transportation."

Many of the move-in residents this time have migrated from the coast to the inland area because of the government's housing policy. Those who made their livelihoods as fishermen will find it difficult to find employment to support their families. And the migrants coming from various areas lack historical friendly terms with their neighbors and will have to build relationships of collaboration and trust with new residents.

The JRCS is planning to help them resolve these problems through the livelihood support projects while carrying forward the construction of remaining houses.