The Acting German Ambassador to Sri Lanka Marja Einig handed over Rs. 7 million worth of fishing equipment to villagers in Kannaginagar, a fishing hamlet off the Paranthan-Mullaitivu road.
The aid package is part of a three year long German Federal Government funded project worth Rs. 340 million (2.2 million Euros) to revive livelihoods of displaced families resettled in the Vanni.
“While resettled families are happy to return to their villages, many live in extremely dire conditions. Next to adequate housing access to better economic opportunities is their top-priority. This is where we hope to lend a helping hand,” Einig said.
Kannaginagar has 316 families, who have been displaced multiple times, first in the early 1990s, then during the tsunami and for a third time during the final stages of the conflict in 2009. About 150 families still live in temporary shelters.
The entire village depends on fishing with most families involved in prawn farming while a few are engaged in deep sea fishing. The Acting Ambassador said that the project had in view the immense potential in terms of agriculture and fisheries production for reviving the economy in the Northern region.
The project spanning from 2010 to 2013, focuses on three main components. It has invested 850,000 Euros to revive the agriculture and fisheries sectors and 500,000 Euros to rebuild the educational infrastructure in the region. It also focuses on long term community development by providing counselling facilities and greater opportunities for women in terms of access to livelihoods, education and enhancing their civic participation. Over 3,000 returning families in Kilinochchi district and 1,700 in Mullaitivu will benefit from the project. Currently a needs assessment is being done to include beneficiaries from Vavuniya as well. The project is implemented by the German Government programme for International Development and Technical Cooperation (GIZ) in cooperation with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Economic Development.