United Nations Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Houses to be built for tsunami survivors (IRIN)

Wednesday, 20 July 2005

NAIROBI, 19 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - Four hundred housing units are to be built for survivors of the December 2004 tsunami in Hafun town, northeastern Somalia in a joint programme between the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).

The 12-month project that begins in August will reconstruct houses, public buildings and sanitation facilities at a cost of US $1.35 million. It is part of a larger integrated development programme involving various organisations, a statement issued by the two agencies on Tuesday, said.

The tsunami, which displaced more than 5,000 people, damaged most buildings on the town's seafront because the largely unplanned settlements were located "on a flat, low-lying sand plate" that made most of them vulnerable to the colossal waves.

A joint UN agency assessment mission in February 2005 identified areas for investment in Hafun, some 1,500 km northeast of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, to bridge the gap between relief and development.

Maurizio Pieroni, the chief technical advisor to UN-HABITAT, said: "After meeting the immediate emergency needs of Hafun following the tsunami, the aim is to collaborate with the community to forge a medium to long-term assistance programme that will develop living and working conditions in a sustainable way."

The head of UNICEF-Somalia, Christian Balslev-Olesen, said: "This is a project that will provide 400 families, including 1,600 children, with affordable housing and sanitation facilities, while in the process creating job opportunities, building technical and leadership skills and nurturing community spirit."

The project is to be implemented in collaboration with other agencies, including the UN High Commission for Refugees, the UN Development Programme, the International Labour Organisation and the World Food Programme.

A large swathe of northeastern Somalia's coastline was devastated by the tidal waves, in which about 150 people are thought to have died and 54,000 were left in need of emergency assistance.

The impact was most felt over a 650 km stretch between Hafun and Graced in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland.