Sri Lanka

Humanitarian Situation Report - Sri Lanka: 01 - 07 Jul 2005

Situation Report
Originally published
General Situation
The Taskforce for Rebuilding the Nation (TAFREN) has established a Helpline to provide information and answer queries of the tsunami-affected in Sri Lanka. The Helpline has personnel to provide assistance in Sinhala, Tamil or English and operates from nine in the morning through five in the evening.


From 26 to 28 June, IOM's counter-trafficking programme funded and supported local NGO, Sewalanka, to run a district level training workshop in Trincomalee for 30 field workers and community leaders. To date, IOM has supported over 100 psychosocial workers to undergo Mental Health Training of Trainers courses in both the Tamil and Sinhala languages. IOM has also supported psycho-social workshops at a district level for over 100 field workers and community leaders.

Water and sanitation

A few non-affected villages in Vaharai have requested aid agencies to also provide water to them. Low water levels are starting to affect areas that usually experience scarcity of water during the dry season. Oxfam GB is currently assessing their needs. Water/Sanitation agencies are recognizing that the proposed ADB water scheme for the district will take years to implement. In the meantime, they are trying to alleviate the water supply needs through the installment of tube wells. The Italian Red Cross is already engaged in this, and ACF, UNICEF and World Vision are planning to follow suit.

Non-food items and shelter

In Galle district, almost all land necessary for permanent housing has been identified, however, the majority of private land is still in the process of acquisition, and public lands are in the process of transfer. According to Tsunami Housing Reconstruction Unit (THRU) in Colombo, 1,633 houses in Galle are under construction of which 55 are completed on new-sites.

Some 17 international organisations are recorded as having reconstruction, repair and rehabilitation programmes in Galle District. They range from the repair of completely damaged houses to homes that have damage of less than 40 per cent - all beyond the 100 metre buffer zone. According to the UN HABITAT table of planned Original-Site reconstructions (based on results of a questionnaire), a total of 3,296 housing reconstructions are underway in Galle district. Unfortunately some organizations involved in reconstruction have still not reported their contribution and assistance to either the local divisional secretaries or to the Galle Permanent Housing Working Group.

TAFREN and the Ministry of Housing and Construction Industry has negotiated a discounted rate for cement with six major suppliers for post-tsunami reconstruction. MOUs were signed with Tokyo Cement (Lanka), Lafarge Mahaweli Cement, Holcim (Lanka), Ceylon Ambuja Cement, Ultratech Ceylinco and ICT for the supply of 700,000 metric tonnes of cement.

IOM has received approximately US$130,000 of high-quality timber to provide temporary accommodation for some of the hundreds of thousands of people made homeless by the tsunami. IOM this week received 17 container loads of valuable timber donated by OXFAM Australia - enough to build temporary homes for about 1300 families. The wood is now being trucked from Colombo to the hard hit coastal regions of Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee in one of the biggest single transport operations since the tsunami struck six months ago. IOM trucks and drivers are delivering a further three containers of OXFAM timber to temporary housing sites under construction by other aid agencies, as part of its ongoing support for the wider relief and reconstruction program on the island. Oxfam Australia is donating a total of 100 containers of high-quality timber and more wood is expected to arrive in Colombo soon. IOM will receive 70 per cent of the timber to build temporary housing for people affected by the tsunami. The remaining 30 per cent will go to other aid agencies providing temporary shelter. While aid agencies are purchasing some construction materials locally, the Australian timber helps avoid damaging the local environment or contributing to local timber shortages. The IOM-built accommodation is designed to last up to two years, or longer if necessary, while permanent housing is finalised. The agency will complete construction of its 2,000th temporary home in the first half of July.

As of 6 July, 79 per cent of all required semi-permanent shelters (8,490 out of a total of 10,804) were completed in Batticaloa district according to the Transitional Accommodation Project (TAP). Two hundred and fourteen families remain in welfare centers and 242 in tents. Almost all fully or partially damaged houses have been inspected to date (14,891 out of a total of 15,309). The number of contested cases is currently unavailable. However, as a result of a lack of forms, not all of these cases have in fact been submitted to the DS offices for further processing. Preliminary estimates suggest that 20 to 25 per cent of cases of inspected damaged houses do not have land titles.


Save the Children in Sri Lanka has distributed exercise books, school bags, stationary items, play items, water bottles and lunch boxes to 110 tsunami-affected school children in Killinochchi. In addition SCiSL has completed constructing seven pre-schools in transit camps in Killionchchi. A local NGO, VEDRO is making arrangements to provide school furniture and equipment while parents will provide man power and material support in making fences in the preschools.


The livelihood component of IOM's counter-trafficking programme prioritizes assistance to families comprising the most vulnerable individuals such as single-headed households (widowed, separated, divorced, single), injured, elderly or disabled persons, pregnant and lactating women, young adults, families caring for three or more children (high dependency ratios). The primary focus is on livelihood support to single-headed households. This has been key in ensuring that these extremely vulnerable families are actively targeted. Following livelihood surveys and the establishment of a livelihood database with criteria to identify single-headed and other highly vulnerable households in the first quarter of 2005, livelihood restoration/development assistance to identified families started gaining momentum in the second quarter. In the last two weeks of June, 18 households were assisted through the counter trafficking programme. To date IOM has commenced individual family livelihood projects with 407 households identified as single-headed or otherwise extremely vulnerable.

Assistance has included the provision of replacement tool kits and other income-generating assets and support in developing and/or learning new skills through training courses.

In addition, livelihood assistance has been provided to 26 single-headed families through a partnership with Oxfam and local NGOs including Nawimana in Matara district.

A TAFREN consultant for the Livelihood Rapid Income Recovery Programme (RIRP) began his duties in Galle district last week and with the Livelihood Working Group. In its last meeting, the working group discussed redundancies and duplication of efforts on distribution of goods, and how it can be minimised. In Telwatte and Peraliya, Hikkaduwa Division, a notice board will be put up at the Divisional Secretariat for beneficiaries to list their needs so organizations can see their demands and cross off any needs that have been met. TAFREN is confident that its new livelihoods database will minimize duplication of efforts in the livelihood sector and will display details of the affected population and their needs systematically.

SCiSL together with the Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WCCI) on 27 June made payments to 33 women for stitching school uniforms where each person averaged around Rs.1,700. Some women requested more tools, such as scissors and over-locking machines. SCiSL is looking into the possibility of providing cash grants of up to a maximum of Rs.4,000. SCiSL with the District Federation Youth Club (DFYC) in Matara has supplied electricity to four block-making sites. At one of the sites the youth produced around 1,500 blocks in three days. The partnership also supplied 2,000 grow bags to those whose land is contaminated with salt in Batticaloa.

Among the loan schemes set up by the government is a Rs.5 billion fund set up to provide Susahana loans for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises. Currently US$ 19.4 million (Rs.1,940 million) has been granted to 4,154 applicants. Also available is a Rs.700 million loan scheme for micro industries through the National Development Trust Fund of which US$ 1.58 million (Rs.158 million) has been provided to 4,437 individuals. A loan of Rs.2.8 billion through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and a Rs.2 billion loan scheme for micro enterprises funded by the German donor organization GTZ has been planned.

The Sri Lankan Red Cross Society has continued to carry out cash for work programmes in Balapitiya, Ambalangoda, Hikkaduwa and Habbaraduwa in Galle district and vocational trainings for carpenters, electricians, and masonry workers in various areas.

World Vision has repaired 40 shops in Katugoda, Galle Four Gravats Division. The government has not provided the stalls with electricity, therefore World Vision is providing electricity through a generator as a temporary solution. These shops are free of charge for the keepers for at least one year, and have assisted almost 35 shops to re-open over the last month.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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