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Citizens in Lorient donate Rs. 60mln to construct houses

The Lorient-Matara Friendship Association which consists of French citizens and Sri Lankan expatriates in the city of Lorient in France has come up with a cash donation amounting to Rs. 60Mln (150,000 Euros) for construction of houses in Matara town.

This donation was handed over to Deputy Minister of Housing and Construction Industry, Eastern Province Education and Irrigation Development, Chandrasiri Gajadeera recently at the auditorium of the Ministry of Housing and Construction Industry, Eastern Province Education and Irrigation Development, "Sethsiripaya", Battaramulla by John Pasqel Descom, Head of the Representative Group of the Lorient-Matara Friendship Association in the presence of group members who were in Sri Lanka for this event.

The money donated will be utilised by the National Housing Development Authority to construct 100 houses for tsunami victims at Matara at the rate of Rs. 600,000 per housing unit. According to NHDA sources the house type plans for the proposed houses are ready and a suitable site will be identified within the next few days.

John Pasqel Descom addressing those present at the handing over of donation said the city of Lorient which was proud of a long history had once been destroyed by bombings.

However it was rehabilitated to rise again as a modern and developed city. When Deputy Minister, Chandrasiri Gajadeera visited Lorient we were able to commence this association. It is our hope to reconstruct Matara the same way as did Lorient.

Apart from re-housing we intend to assist the rehabilitation process in various other means. We intend to provide para-medical assistance to Matara hospital and to initiate a special program aimed at rehabilitation of physically and mentally retarded children. About 300 citizens are in the streets of Lorient to raise funds for their projects.

Around 2000 university students in Lorient have come forward to take part in the Foster Parent Scheme for Affected Children. For this purpose we will be identifying the eligible children from Matara areas.

As the city of Lorient is connected to fisheries industry we have the capability and know-how to assist in the reconstruction of affected fisheries industry in Sri Lanka.

From Lorient we have already sent a consignment of tsunami aid to Sri Lanka and we are continuing with more in the future. It is our wish that Matara will rise up again from this havoc as Lorient did after its devastation".

Chandrasiri Gajadeera, Deputy Minister of Housing and Construction Industry, Eastern Province Education and Irrigation Development said, "Many countries have come forward to help us in this hour of need.

We are ever appreciative of the assistance extended by the French government. The Health Minister of French government visited Matara the other day and pledged more assistance. The people of Matara and Lorient had established a close relationship thanks to this association.

Our special thanks go to people of Lorient for their active participation in the projects for providing relief to tsunami victims.

Yves-Alain Corporeau, Cultural Secretary in the French Embassy in Colombo and Mallika Karunaratne, Secretary, Minister of Housing and Construction Industry, Eastern Province Education and Irrigation Development also spoke at this event.

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