Swiss offer cash for shelter in tsunami zone

Home is a camp for these Tamil refugees in Sri Lanka Keystone

Switzerland is offering SFr4.3 million ($3.6 million) to 19,000 families in Sri Lanka and Indonesia providing shelter to people made homeless by the tsunami.

This content was published on February 4, 2005 - 17:11

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) said on Friday that up to 100,000 homeless people could benefit from the scheme.

Officials presented the cash-for-shelter project as an alternative to housing people in camps, adding that it was cheaper to run and provided a family environment.

In Sri Lanka, 9,600 families stand to receive SFr40 ($33) a month from Switzerland over a six-month period. In Banda Aceh on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, 9,000 families can claim Swiss support.

The SDC said it had run similar schemes in Kosovo, Mongolia and Chechnya, and now wanted to apply its experience to the Asian countries hit by December’s tsunami.

Millions were left homeless and hundreds of thousands were killed when the tidal waves struck on December 26.

First payments

The SDC said aid would be available to families currently offering shelter and to those who took homeless people in immediately after the tsunami.

Families are expected to take in four to five people, meaning that 40,000 to 50,000 homeless people in Sri Lanka will not have to be accommodated in camps.

The first payment of SFr120 – to cover three months – is due to be paid in March.

In total the SDC is preparing to spend SFr3.3 million on its cash-for-shelter programme in Sri Lanka, and SFr1 million in Indonesia.

The SDC said that it envisaged that future assistance to Sri Lanka would take the form of “cash-for-repair” and “cash-for-relocation” programmes.

These Swiss-funded schemes would enable survivors to rebuild homes destroyed by the tsunami or build a home in another location.

Two SDC specialists would be on hand to advise the local government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said the agency.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Switzerland is providing SFr4.3 million to families offering shelter to those made homeless by the tsunami.
Families in Sri Lanka stand to receive SFr3.3 million.
The remaining SFr1 million is for Indonesian host families.
The first payments will be made in March.
Around 100,000 homeless people are expected to benefit from the scheme.

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