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Chinese houses for Sri Lankan tsunami victims

The houses were part of the 462 donated by the China Red Cross Society Society to the island nation devastated by the tsunami.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2006 11:39 IST

A tsunami victim, 42-year-old MH Sunil, was very happy as he welcomed a special guest from China in his own new house donated by the Chinese people.

"I wish you a happy life in your new house," Su Juxiang, vice president of the China Red Cross Society, told Sunil as he shook hands with him.

"I lost everything in the tsunami. The Chinese also donated this new television and the new bed. Thank you for giving me a new life," Sunil told Su while showing his 86-square metre house to the guest.

Su came to Sri Lanka to hand over 264 houses to Sri Lanka's tsunami-displaced families in the southern districts of Galle and Hikkaduwa.

These houses were part of the 462 donated by the China Red Cross Society and China Charity Society to the island nation devastated by the tsunami two years ago.

In a simple ceremony in Daddela, Galle, Su transferred 102 houses to tsunami-displaced families in the China-Sri Lanka Red Cross Village.

The houses were co-funded by the Red Cross Society of China and the society's Macao branch.

Another 162 houses funded by the Red Cross and the China Charity Society were also handed over to Sri Lanka in the village.

Ge Chuanyou, a Chinese diplomat in Sri Lanka, said that China and Sri Lanka have always been close friends.

He said the Chinese government has provided $18.7 million to Sri Lanka as government assistance, written off debts worth $4.1 million and undertaken three fishing-harbour rebuilding projects.

"I hope the China-Sri Lanka Red Cross Village will be a new milestone of friendship between China and Sri Lanka," said Ge.

Lionel Premasiri, deputy minister of social services and social welfare, asked residents in the new villages to keep friendship of the Chinese people in mind and build a prosperous life.

"Finally I can go back home to reunite with my family," said Zhao Zhihu, chief architect of the tsunami housing project.

To finish the housing project on time, Zhao worked in Sri Lanka for 18 months without seeing his family.

First Published: Dec 25, 2006 11:20 IST