External evaluation report on the Cash for Repair and Reconstruction Project Sri Lanka
The Indian Ocean tsunami caused huge loss of life, displacement and destruction in Sri Lanka. People’s immediate priorities were to find shelter, safety, meet basic needs and trace and mourn loved ones. The population affected took shelter with relatives and friends, in temples, mosques and public buildings such as schools. Subsequently, transition camps and temporary shelters on site were built by various agencies. Permanent housing, however, soon became a key concern. People wanted to return to their homes and start the process of rebuilding and needed assistance to do so. Support for shelter and housing in Sri Lanka was characterised by considerable confusion and controversy in the implementation of policy and programmes of
assistance. There was ongoing uncertainty over the government imposed ‘buffer zone’ – a no – construction zone of up to 100m in the South and West and 200m in the North- and how close
to the shore houses would be allowed. People who had lived inside the buffer zone remained stuck in temporary shelters and with relatives as projects to build houses in new relocation areas progressed slowly. It took more than a year for the decision to reduce the buffer zone to 35-50m and in some places only down to 100m depending on the location. This delay, combined with difficulties of finding appropriate land outside the buffer zone created difficulties in finalising the number and allocation of beneficiaries eligible for different housing options.
The Swiss Consortium, constituting of Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) as the initiator of the programme, Swiss Red Cross (SRC) and HEKS as implementers and Swiss Solidarity (SwS) as the donors, provided support to a national, government led programme which provided cash for the ‘owner driven’ approach for the repair and reconstruction of damaged