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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Humanitarian Situation Report: 29 Apr - 5 May 2005

ReliefWeb - Document Preview - Humanitarian Situation Report - Sri Lanka: 29 Apr - 5 May 2005: "Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Date: 05 May 2005

Main challenges and response

In Galle district, the government and UN agencies and NGOs are assessing the daily migration patterns of IDPs from shelter camps in the coastal belt to camps inland during the evenings. In addition, many IDPs are not residing in the camps. Monitoring of camp sites and tents is being conducted by various organizations. Decommissioning of some tents on the coastal belt, and upgrading of low-grade tents to more durable ones are being considered to stem the daily migration.

In Killinochchi, according to UNICEF, 80 percent of IDPs previously in welfare camps are now housed in a total of 39 transitional camps in Mullaitivu and Vadamarachchy East. Each family housed at these sites has its own shelter with access to adequate water and sanitation facilities, community halls, children’s playgrounds, recreational facilities, pre-school facilities and psychosocial support. According to UNICEF, Jaffna IDP families that were previously hosted with friends and relatives are now approaching local authorities and registering themselves for a place in the newly constructed transitional shelter sites. According to government authorities in Jaffna, some 525 cases of this kind have been registered thus far.


IOM concluded the establishment of a psycho-social pilot project in Matara. The project included deployment of three social mobilizers with the aim of creating a self-sustaining participatory psychosocial programme within IOM supported IDP camps in the district. Following successful implementation, the international mobilizers handed over the programme to a local psycho-social field officer who was hired to support the programme in the future. The international social mobilizers were re-dispatched to support the rapid implementation of grassroots level psychosocial activities in tsunami-affected communities in Ampara and Trincomalee districts.

Through its partners, UNICEF is supporting nearly 50 different psychosocial activities in the districts. Over half of these projects are in direct support of tsunami-affected populations. Tsunami-related activities include support for the coordination of activities, training of public health workers, assistance to family support workers, financing of community support programmes, the establishment of child-friendly spaces and children’s clubs in camps, support for play activities, theatre, music and dance, the facilitation of youth and child-tochild activities, and the supply of recreational items.

UNICEF partners in psychosocial per district
(as of 26 April 2005)
Ampara Peace and Community Action, Rural Development Foundation, SHADE, Mental Health Unit
Batticaloa Eastern Human and Economic Development (ESCO), Third Eye, Mental Health Unit
Galle Faculty of Medicine: University of Ruhuna, Sarovdaya, MDC
Hambantota Faculty of Medicine: University of Ruhuna, Sarovdaya, MDC
Jaffna Ahavoli, FRC, WHC, MDT, JSAC, Shanthiham
Killinochchi/Mullativu Aesthetic Society, Annai Illam, Working Women’s Development Foundation (WWDF), Centre for Health Care (CHC)
Matara Faculty of Medicine: University of Ruhuna, Sarovdaya, MDC
Trincomalee Eastern Human and Economic Development (EHED), AHAM, ESCO, Centre for Performing Arts, Mental Health Unit, SSED
Vavuniya SHADE, Family Centre

Water and sanitation

In Trincomalee, UNICEF, in collaboration with Shelter for Life and Help from Germany, is supporting the construction of water and sanitation facilities for 200 IDP families in Annal Nagar. The families are currently residing in different temporary camps in Kinniya DS division. Shelter for Life will establish temporary shelters on the beneficiaries’ original land in order that the families may live there whilst their permanent houses are constructed on the same sites. For this reason, UNICEF will focus on providing permanent facilities for these families. In particular, UNICEF will support the construction of 200 permanent toilets, provision of an as yet undetermined number of 1,000 litre plastic water tanks, frequent filling of water tanks installed through January 2006 (if required), the extension of the existing water supply system to the sites, and the launching of a hygiene promotion campaign.

Over coming months, UNICEF plans to construct an additional 4,088 temporary and permanent toilets, install another 5,906 water points, and build a further 1,587 bathing facilities. Some of the challenges facing UNICEF and its partners during the shift from relief to recovery include: the construction of adequate water and sanitation facilities for all newly established transitional camps, the establishment of permanent water and sanitation facilities in schools, health centres and communities, the identification of qualified partners to conduct water and sanitation works, the proper maintenance of established facilities, the launching of participatory hygiene campaigns, and support for national capacity building.

Non-food items and shelter

UNHCR is building transitional shelter units in Jaffna, Ampara and Trincomalee Districts. As of 25 April 210 of the 530 shelters planned for Jaffna have been completed. In Ampara, a UNHCR pilot project of 42 shelters was completed in the first week of April. Another 2,500 are now underway, with a possible 1,500 to follow. In Trincomalee, plans are underway to provide transitional shelter for 367 families who are victims of both the conflict and the tsunami.

Construction of transitional houses by IOM for 394 tsunami-affected families is on-going with 14 houses being built in Colombo, 50 in Kalutara, 15 in Matara, 113 in Ampara, 98 in Batticaloa and 104 in Trincomalee. To date a total of 134 families have moved into fully completed transitional houses. Land has been allocated and beneficiaries identified for IOM to construct 2,459 transitional family accommodations in the six districts. IOM will undertake further construction as land is allocated. Much of the basic building materials are purchased locally in the districts helping to revive local economies.

Since the tsunami, UNHCR has distributed 478,700 non-food relief items (NFRI) to beneficiaries affected by the tsunami (at a total value of US$ 1.189 million). The NFRIs include: towels, soap, buckets, cooking equipment and clothing.


Forty-five widowed-mat weavers in Batticaloa district received replacement equipment from IOM to resume their livelihoods and begin to support their families again. The package of assistance included a mat weaving machine, bundles of natural grass (enough to make 12 mats), dye, and a pot to boil the natural grass. In addition, in Batticaloa, 150 women are benefiting from the establishment of community-sewing centers and sewing workshops in four IOM supported camps in Batticaloa district.

Save the Children is assisting nine beneficiaries in Matara district in the shoe-making sector to purchase shoe moulds to get their shoe manufacturing operations back in business. Also in Matara district a workshop was recently held for 100 youth who are the beneficiaries of the block-making (bricks) machines provided as part of Save the Children’s livelihood assistance there. It’s partner in this programme is the District Federation of Youth Council. A training programme on brick-making started on 1 May.


Following the piloting of tsunami awareness materials in affected areas of the North, East and South, UNICEF has reviewed the feedback and decided to add another three to four pictures to the programme in order to provide more detailed information about tsunamis and to promote environmental protection. The facilitator guides will also be revised to take into account the second tsunami scare at the end of March and to encourage communities and schools to develop protection and evacuation strategies. At the request of the Ministry of Education, UNICEF will also publish a small handout that teachers can distribute to parents and students. The format for this handout will be adapted from that already developed by UNICEF Indonesia.

The Batticaloa Protection Taskforce, which consists of government representatives, UN agencies and NGOs, is tracking and responding to specific land rights issues that are already leading to complications during the reconstruction and relocation phase, particularly with regard to those who do not possess land deeds as well as legal entitlements for women. In this context, the Women’s Committee for Disaster Management (WCDM) cited the example of 30 out of 374 IDP families from Thirichendur who currently live in Zaira College but

never had legal title to their land in Thirichendur and will thus not be eligible for compensation. These families are unsure about their future and are not given alternative solutions. On the issue of equal entitlements, WCDM is also advocating for compensation money to be paid into a joint husband and wife bank account.


IOM currently maintains a vehicle fleet of 72 lorries and provides free transport assistance to government agencies, international organizations, NGOs and other organizations. In recent weeks alone, fifty-one IOM lorries carrying various building materials were dispatched to different IOM construction sites throughout the country. In the same period, IOM lorries transported relief items and construction materials to tsunami-affected areas on behalf of various agencies on 140 occasions. They included 72 lorries of medicines and medical equipment for the Ministry of Health to various affected areas throughout the country for the Ministry of Health, 25 lorries of food items, milk powder, water and other relief for the Department of Social Services, 6 lorries transported food, water and milk powder on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Office, 12 to Ampara and Batticaloa districts for CARE International, 10 lorries to Batticaloa, Ampara and Vavuniya districts for UNHCR, 5 to Batticaloa and Ampara districts for OXFAM, 4 to Balapitiya, Matara and Hambantota Hospitals for the Italian Civil Protection Department (ICPD), 4 to Trincomalee and Batticaloa for World University Service Canada (WUSC), and 1 to Batticaloa for Merlin (Medical Relief International). In addition to the heavy trucking assistance, IOM is presently providing 14 vehicles and 40 motorbikes to the Transitional Accommodation Project (TAP) offices throughout the country, 5 vans to Commissioner General for Essential Services (CGES) and 3 to the Task Force For Relief (TAFOR). "

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