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Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka Soon to Complete 100th Tsunami-recovery House in Arugam Bay

Project supported by US celebrity Oprah Winfrey

ARUGAM BAY, 27th June 2006: With construction in full swing, Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka is set to complete its 100th tsunami-recovery house in Arugam Bay, a tsunami-devastated community on the east coast of Sri Lanka, by 1st July.

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One of the new Arugam Bay homes: Dilshard (left) stands in front of the house he shares with his wife and her family, including her mother, Nazeema (right). Nazeema’s sister is in the middle

Workers are on average laying six house foundations a day and expect to complete the 150-house project far ahead of the December 2006 deadline.

As the houses are completed, families are able to leave the squalor and heat of temporary shelters to move into simple, decent, permanent houses. Some 750 survivors of the tsunami will benefit from the 150 houses in six neighborhoods.

Funding for the project is coming from the Angel Network, a foundation supported by well-known US TV talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.

 “This house is more secure and comfortable than our temporary house,” said Dilshard, a 23-year-old man who lives with his wife’s family. After the tsunami, they spent nine months in a leaky wood and thatch hut near their old house on the shore, he said.

Dilshard is happy to have a good house for his wife, M. Hilmiya, and their daughter who was born in March. He has started a small chicken-raising business with help from a non-governmental aid organization and is the major breadwinner for his wife’s family.

Dilshard’s father-in-law, a fisherman, was injured by a boat during the tsunami and has not been able to go to sea to provide an income for his wife and three other children who share the house.