Colombo, May 18: The US Agency for International Development (USAID) today granted one million dollars to upgrade and maintain nearly 4,000 transitional shelters built for the tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka.
''We cannot forget the people who are still living with effects of the tsunami. Unless we follow up on our initial work of getting the tsunami-displaced into decent shelters, the communities run the risk of deteriorating into unsafe and unhealthy places,'' USAID Mission Director Carol Becker said.
According to a recent assessment, 40 per cent of transitional shelters are in need of upgrades, and the maintenance of infrastructure in the shelter communities will include water, sanitation facilities, repairing leaky roofs, constructing kitchen extensions, waterproofing wood structures, improving access roads and power supply systems.
Since the tsunami disaster, the USAID had funded the construction of nearly 10,000 transitional shelters, mostly in the Matara and Ampara districts and the USAID-funded upgrading project would be implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at the request of the Sri Lankan government's Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA).
''Improvements to water and sanitation facilities in the communities will include construction of new toilets and showers, drainage systems, wells and other water supply systems, maintenance of water and sanitation facilities, management of human and solid waste disposal, and training on hygiene and technical aspects of water and sanitation maintenance,'' a statement issued by the US embassy here said.
Many of the development agencies who supported or constructed transitional shelters for the tsunami victims have phased out operations while the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and few other international NGOs that initially constructed shelters, are still contributing to the care and maintenance effort.