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 Post subject: Architecture for Humanity - visited 15 ministries
 Post Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 10:18 pm 
Quote:
Architecture for Humanity - Tsunami Reconstruction
Six months later, the rebuilding effort has only just begun

By Cameron Sinclair
Executive Director/Co-founder - Architecture for Humanity

"Much of the delay is due to red tape and politics between government ministries. While I was on site we visited 15 ministries in five different towns to get a survey plan, none of whom knew where it was. It wasn't until we went to the Prime Ministers' office did it suddenly appear".

"As soon as the UDA come up with a solution we can begin the process of building the community and civic buildings - until then our hands are tied"


In my trip in April I saw miles upon miles of tents and poorly constructed sheds housing many people, since then there has only been slight change – much of the delay is due to red tape and politics between government ministries. While I was on site we visited 15 ministries in five different towns to get a survey plan, none of whom knew where it was. It wasn't until we went to the Prime Ministers' office did it suddenly appear. Many NGO’s, tired of waiting, have built transitional structures and left but life is still very temporary and families are still waiting. We are in for the long haul and I am hopeful that the next six month reconstruction will be begin in earnest and that issues such as land rights and infrastructure are resolved. By my next visit I am hoping that a majority of our projects will be fully underway, if not completed

We have made a strong commitment to creating community based sustainable reconstruction and continue to push forward. We focused on community building mainly because most NGO’s' are building homes and without them you are essentially building permanent refugee camps. In Pottuvil we are working with Relief International to build three schools and upgrade two others (existing photos) with construction slated for early August. We have also developed a $5000 permanent house that is adaptable and scalable to suit the needs of the families. This home incorporates natural ventilation and can be built by the local community using a variety of materials.

In Kirinda, like many coastal villages, we are waiting on the Urban Development Authority (UDA) to decide on the infamous 'no-build zone', sometimes referred to as the 100m rule. After months of wrangling, a couple of weeks ago a consensus was reached between all the stakeholders including community leaders, government officials, local UDA officials and all the donor organizations (ourselves and Colliers International). Then, at the 11th hour, the Ms. Indu Weerasooriya of the UDA decided to change her mind and rewrite the rules as to where people can build - way beyond the 100 meter line. as you can see in the survey (yes, that survey) in some cases it is closer to 300 meters from the shoreline. This threw the carefully developed plan on its head and the local understandably upset. As soon as the UDA come up with a solution we can begin the process of building the community and civic buildings - until then our hands are tied. Currently we are planning to build a medical clinic, library and information center and a civic building that will house the local police station and post office. My greatest concern about is for the residents of Kirinda. Although housing has been built for the nearby Sinhalese population, the voice of the Muslim minority, who live in Kirinda, is not being heard and they are still waiting for their town to be rebuilt.


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