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Tsunami foists housing crisis

Over 8 lakh people in Sri Lanka need a roof over their heads, writes PK Balachanddran.
PTI | By COLOMBO DIARY | PK Balachanddran, Colombo
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2005 01:21 PM IST
Three weeks after the tsunami attack on December 26, the problem in Sri Lanka is not so much of food or clothing. These are reaching most of the hard hit areas, except Amparai district in south eastern Sri Lanka, where complaints abound. The problem now is housing, and this has assumed the proportions of a major crisis.

The 800,000 displaced men, women and children spread across two thirds of the island's coastline, desperately need a roof over their heads, some kind of a shelter from the elements. It is scorching during the day, and in just a month and a half from now, in March, rains are expected.

The tsunami destroyed 200,000 houses. According to a government report published in The Sunday Times of January 16, sixty two of the 135 coastal townships were either severely or partially damaged. In hundreds of settlements, virtually all buildings within 100 or 200 metres of the shoreline had been flattened.

Tilak Ranaviraja, the Commissioner General of Essential Services told Hindustan Times that the tsunami had dealt a grievous blow to urban Sri Lanka, the nerve centre of the country's economic life.

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