USAID to cleanup Batticaloa lagoon

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 28 June 2005, 10:27 GMT]
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has hired heavy equipment and assembled multi-disciplinary teams of engineers and technicians, including divers from the Sri Lankan Navy to remove the tsunami rubble and debris which has impeded the revival of the fishing industry, US Embassy in Colombo said in a press release on Tuesday. The livelihoods of more than 3,500 people in the local fishing community of Batticaloa will be restored through the project, it added.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) program, has initiated the project.

"This project is a real community effort, fostering relationships between local government authorities and civil society," said USAID's Timothy L. Bertotti at the project's launch.

"Without the participation of the government agent's office, the municipal council, the Navy, and the local police, this endeavor would never have been possible."

Despite the high priority on cleaning up the area, the logistical difficulty in bringing together the necessary expertise has hampered progress thus far, the press release added.

The OTI grant for the project, valued at more than $71,000, has permitted all the necessary actors to come together to begin the project, it said.

Since USAID initiated the program March 2003, OTI has signed 399 small-grant agreements - mostly with local organizations - totaling more than $11 million, according to the press release.

The cleanup is expected to be complete by the end of September.

 

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