Tsunami-affected Somalis to receive shelter worth $1.3 million

Tsunami-affected Somalis to receive shelter worth $1.3 million

Several United Nations agencies are collaborating in building hundreds of houses for 2,400 people who lost their homes in north-eastern Somalia during last December's devastating Indian Ocean tsunami, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) said today.

The yearlong project beginning next month will construct 400 houses, in addition to public buildings and sanitation facilities, at a cost of $1.35 million in the seaside town of Hafun, the two agencies said.

The tsunami displaced more than 5,000 people in Hafun and damaged most buildings on the seafront because the largely unplanned settlements were located on a flat, low-lying sand plate that made most of them vulnerable to the giant waves, they said.

The project will train the townspeople in new construction skills, production of local building materials, cooperative management and site planning and design.

Other agencies involved include the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

The chief technical adviser to UN-HABITAT, Maurizio Pieroni, 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."

UNICEF's Somalia chief Christian Balslev-Olesen said 1,600 children will be among those provided affordable housing in the programme designed to nurture "community spirit."