Sri Lanka

ACT Situation Report: South and south east Asia/Sri Lanka 0305

Information provided by the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) Temporary Relief Unit

The NCCSL reports that in the six months since the tsunami struck the coast of Sri Lanka, claiming the lives and property of many thousands of the country's residents, recovery has been slow and much more needs to be done to restore the lives of the affected people and the nation as a whole.

NCCSL has been supported in its post-tsunami efforts by its own members in the country as well as international partners. Action by Churches Together (ACT) International is NCCSL's main funding partner, although many other groups, both local and abroad, have sent their donations for the work with the tsunami-affected.

NCCSL has been involved both in the relief stage and now in the rehabilitation stage. Its activities are coordinated by the Temporary Relief Unit (TRU) at the NCCSL office in Colombo and are being implemented by the local churches and ecumenical organizations that are members of NCCSL.

The rehabilitation stage consists of projects to restore the livelihood of the affected, training in alternative livelihoods, psychosocial activities, restoration of educational needs, repair to damaged houses and other activities.

The influx of relief and rehabilitation organizations (NGOs and others), working mostly in an uncoordinated manner, has, at times, created challenges. NCCSL has stepped cautiously in all of its activities to ensure that there is no duplication of work and has ensured that requests originate from beneficiaries rather than from the implementer, although the latter is the one that coordinates and implements the activity for and on behalf of the NCCSL.

NCCSL has also appointed convenors, field officers and regional coordinators to facilitate and monitor at different levels and to ensure information sharing among NCCSL's players in the field. Systems are being put in place to meet the constant changes that are taking place in the field.

ACT conducted a independent evaluation of the relief stage of NCCSL's work in May, and NCCSL is awaiting the report. NCCSL has sent its first interim report to ACT.

NCCSL has taken some immediate measures/steps to improve communication and coordination. It is aware of the many issues and shortcomings that are faced by those in the field, NCCSL staff in the field and implementing partners. To minimise these issues and shortcomings, NCCSL has proposed regular meetings at various levels and sharing of information at all levels. These meetings help to bring to the surface issues that need to be resolved and thus strengthen the joint efforts of NCCSL's partners at all levels. NCCSL believes it and its partners are a team, and therefore its first step is planned at improving communication among its partners at all levels.

Some examples of the work NCCSL has carried out so far under the current ACT Appeal (ASRE51, Revision 1 - Asia Earthquake & Tsunamis):

Northern Sri Lanka

- In Jaffna district, Anthikovilady village and Udhuvil village, NCCSL partners are providing bicycles to 404 and 104 families, respectively, to help them return to their livelihoods.

- In Vanni district, Mulliyawelli and Kappailavu villages, NCCSL partners have provided a temporary shelter for a school, benefiting 150 students, and are providing repairs to another school building and its library as well as teachers' salaries, benefiting 11 teachers and 200 families.

Eastern Sri Lanka

In the Akkaraipattu, Batticaloa, Kallar, Kalmunai, Komari, Trincomalee and Ampara communities, NCCSL partners are repairing homes that will benefit a total of 450 families.

Southern Sri Lanka

- In the Matara community, NCCSL partners have helped self-employed street vendors return to work and have supplied sewing machines and other materials to help 24 widows return to work.

- In the Baddegama community, an NCCSL congregation is conducting skills training for tsunami survivors through an information technology center.

Western Sri Lanka

In the Negambo, Matara and Dehiwala communities, an NCCSL partner is repairing homes to benefit a total of 450 families. In the same areas, it is providing one-time seed capital for self-employment measures by 400 families, namely widows, single parents and the extremely poor.

For more information contact:

NCCSL Temporary Relief Unit (TRU)
R. C. Ratnakumar
+94 11 5335276
+94 77 3157455 (mobile)

For more information, please contact:

ACT Communications Officer Callie Long (mobile/cell phone +41 79 358 3171) or
ACT Press Officer Stephen Padre (mobile/cell phone +41 79 681 1868)