Clear land policy needed to resettle tsunami victims, says UN

Sri Lankan Police forming a human chain in parliament to protect the Speaker and enable a vote.

The United Nations office in Sri Lanka is calling for a clear land policy for resettlement of tsunami victims, particularly in areas of land shortage. “A clear policy on relocation is of such national importance, it must not be politicised,” said the resident representative of the UNDP, Miguel Bermeo, on Friday, at a Danish business conference.

Despite government announcements of no-building zones and allocation of land for resettlement, tsunami victims are still uncertain of their future.

“Still there is very real confusion among affected populations about resettlement,” says Bermeo.

At this point nearly three million people will have to be relocated because of a government decision to clear the beaches, by stopping any building activity within 100m to 200m of the coast.

But when the land in the no-building zones is removed from circulation, there is very little room left to re-settle communities that lived along the coast.

Which means that coastal communities will have to be relocated further inland or in areas unfamiliar to them.

The move could also distance fishing communities from their livelihood.

The UN po