Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka (HFHSL) has partnered with Alwaleed Philanthropies (AP), chaired by HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal AlSaud, in an initiative to rebuild the lives of families affected by landslides caused by Cyclone Roanu, in May 2016. Together with the Government of Sri Lanka, District Secretariat of Kegalle and Divisional Secretaries of Aranayake, Yatiyantota and Deraniyagala, 80 families were identified as key beneficiaries for the rebuilding initiative.
Cyclone Roanu, which hit Sri Lanka early last year, caused severe flooding and landslides, resulting in more than 200 deaths, and displacing close to 300,000 others. The estimated destruction and damage across Sri Lanka reached 250–280 billion rupees (US$1.7–2 billion) in total, including the loss of homes and livelihoods.
Alwaleed Philanthropies has come forward to support Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka’s initiative by providing funding to construct 80 houses for victims of the landslides. Globally supporting projects, regardless of gender, race or religion, Alwaleed Philanthropies has supported Habitat for Humanity’s work over the past years including the earthquakes in Ecuador, Japan and Nepal and a cyclone in Vanuatu. Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka’s President of the Board of Directors, Mr. Lakshan Madurasinghe said, “At Habitat for Humanity, we believe that every Sri Lankan deserves a decent place to live. The Kegalle Housing Project is one of the many programmes that we will spearhead this year and is set to rebuild lives of those who lost their homes and livelihoods due to the landslides. We are sincerely grateful to Alwaleed Philanthropies for identifying the need and coming forward to support this project.”
A Memorandum of Understanding between HFHSL and the Government of Sri Lanka’s agents in Aranayake and Yatiyantota was signed on 19th December 2016 at the Kegalle District Secretariat. Through the Kegalle Housing Project, Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka has pledged to construct 40 houses for the victims of landslides in Kalugala, Aranayake, 23 houses in Illukthenna Estate, Deraniyagala followed by the construction of 17 houses in Yatiyantota. The new houses will be stronger and better prepared for future disasters.
The ground breaking ceremony which launched the Kegalle Housing Project took place on the 16th of January in Kalugala Village in Aranayake. The ground breaking ceremony was attended by the Aranayaka Coordinating Committee Co-Chairman, former Deputy Minister Lalith Dissanayake, Aranayaka Coordinating Committee Co-Chairman, Aranayaka UNP National Organiser Nimal Jayasinghe, District Secretary of Kegalle, Mr. W.M. Abeywickrama Wanasuriya, Divisional Secretary of Aranayake, Mr. Z.A.M.Faizal, Secretary of the Disaster Management Centre, Mr. Miyanwala, President of the National Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka, Mr.Lakshan Madurasinghe and the National Director of HFHSL, Dr. Dinesh Kanagaratnam.
Commenting at the ground breaking ceremony, Mr. Madurasinghe continued to say, “Parallel to this project we are looking to launch many key Habitat volunteer build initiatives in 2017, such as, Habitat Young Leaders Build, which will consist of a Scouts Build and a Women’s Build in the upcoming months. It is our hope that these initiatives will not only contribute towards rebuilding lives and empower communities, but also contribute towards fostering the spirit of volunteerism among the youth in Sri Lanka.”