The long-standing conflict in Sri Lanka came to an end in May 2009. In the wake of this conflict lies a protracted humanitarian situation on several fronts where unmet humanitarian needs prevail. In the Northern Province, the emphasis has been on the return process which was launched by the Government of Sri Lanka at the end of 2009.
Since then, humanitarian aid efforts have largely focused on returning Internally Displaced People (IDP) to their places of origin and ensuring that basic services are in place for the returnees. Meanwhile, in the Eastern Province, although the conflict ended by mid-2007, recent floods have aggravated an already fragile existence for the most vulnerable, many of whom had only just begun to rebuild their livelihoods after a period of protracted displacement. Lastly, across the Palk Straight in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu, some 75,000 officially registered Sri Lankans are living in refugee camps.
As development projects amplify, under present circumstances, a phase-out for the European Union's Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, (DG ECHO) is foreseeable by the end of 2012, allowing for sufficient time to ensure a smooth transition to development actions. At present, however, humanitarian assistance continues to carry an important added-value in this context: ensuring that a bridge between relief and development is in place, and assistance is provided on the basis of humanitarian principles.
Some recent data on Sri Lanka: - Population: 20,156,204 people (World Bank) - ECHO GNA: 2 – Vulnerability Index; 3 – Crisis Index (2009/2010) - HDI ranking: 102/182 countries – Medium HDI - Conflict-affected population: at least 445,000 people are living in precarious conditions despite the end of the conflict.