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Monday 18 July 2005

Somalia: Houses to be built for tsunami survivors

Four hundred housing units are to be built for survivors of the December 2004 tsunami in Hafun town, northeastern Somalia in a joint programme between the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). The 12-month project that begins in August will reconstruct houses, public buildings and sanitation facilities at a cost of US $1.35 million. It is part of a larger integrated development programme involving various organisations, a statement issued by the two agencies on Tuesday, said.

The tsunami, which displaced more than 5,000 people, damaged most buildings on the town's seafront because the largely unplanned settlements were located "on a flat, low-lying sand plate" that made most of them vulnerable to the colossal waves. A joint UN agency assessment mission in February 2005 identified areas for investment in Hafun, some 1,500 km northeast of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, to bridge the gap between relief and development.

Maurizio Pieroni, the chief technical advisor to UN-HABITAT, 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." The head of UNICEF-Somalia, Christian Bae=1
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