The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) says it is disappointed that the cash grant for IDP returnees in Northern Sri Lanka had to be suspended owing to a lack of funds.
The cash grant consists of a payment which is made to each returning family – 25,000 Sri Lankan rupees (about US$220) per family. The first 5,000 rupees is paid by the government when they arrive and is later reimbursed by UNHCR. After a few days, UNHCR and the government register the returnees and give them a form that they then can take to the Bank of Ceylon to open an account and withdraw the other 20,000 rupees whenever it is convenient.
“We were really disappointed to hear after our return that the cash grant had to be suspended because of lack of funding. From what we saw, people were using the money very constructively and it was making a big difference to those first weeks after they had returned,” UNHCR Senior Policy Officer Vicky Tennant said following a visit to Sri Lanka.
The aim of the grant was to help people rebuild their homes, carry out essential repairs or, if necessary, to build some kind of temporary shelter, Tennant added in an interview posted on the UNHCR website.
She also said that there are also a lot of concerns with some IDPs have family members still being held in rehabilitation camps because they are suspected of involvement in the conflict and there is a sense that until the family is complete again, then the return process won't really be successful. (Daily Mirror online)