Sri Lanka

Helping displaced Sri Lankans return and rebuild their lives: The European Commission to assist with €10 million

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IP/11/542

Brussels, 6 May 2011

The European Commission raised its humanitarian support to Sri Lanka by another €10 million today. This will finance further assistance for internally displaced Sri Lankans, helping them to return to their homes, and ensuring that basic services are in place for the returnees. These additional resources will also bring humanitarian aid to vulnerable Sri Lankan refugees in India, and will reach the most affected victims of the floods that ravaged Sri Lanka's eastern province earlier this year.

Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response said: "Europe will continue its impartial support to the vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka, and will work to build the bridge between relief assistance and long-term development in the country".

Many Sri Lankans who had been internally displaced by violence have returned home since the conflict ended in May 2009. Still, some 75,000 refugees continue to lead a difficult life in camps in Tamil Nadu, India. For them and for returnees, recovery remains a challenge, as many survive in precarious conditions and do not have the prospect of earning a stable livelihood.

Those who had only just begun to rebuild their lives in Sri Lanka have recently faced another major obstacle – the floods that swept through the country's eastern province.

To help Sri Lanka tackle the double challenge of recovering from a protracted crisis and a recent natural disaster, the European Commission is increasing its humanitarian support.

The new funding will assist the re-establishment of basic services and the promotion of livelihood activities in Sri Lanka. In parallel, disaster risk reduction initiatives will be supported in four districts of the northern and eastern provinces, vulnerable to natural disasters, through the Commission's Disaster Preparedness programme (DIPECHO).

BACKGROUND

The European Commission has been supporting vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka with humanitarian aid since 1992. Since the end of the conflict in 2009, the Commission has been catering for the humanitarian needs of internally displaced persons in Sri Lanka with a series of emergency financing decisions which total of €14 million.

Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu have also been benefitting from European solidarity – the Commission has provided €1 million for their protection, psychosocial support, water and sanitation and shelter.

Another emergency disbursement of €2 million, provided in early 2011, has helped the communities affected by floods in eastern Sri Lanka.

For information on the European Commission's humanitarian aid:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm