Sri Lanka

Humanitarian Situation Report - Sri Lanka: 05 - 11 Aug 2005

Overall Situation

The Ministry of Tourism and the Sri Lanka Tourist Board have developed short to long term recovery plans for 15 coastal resort towns for restoration including Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Galle and Kogalla, all in Galle District. These resort-towns will be master-planned, taking into consideration zoning regulations and the needs of the community. Commerce and livelihoods will be recapitalised even as property, plant and equipment are restored. In recent weeks, the return of foreign and domestic tourists has been visible in Galle town and its nearby popular beaches, Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa. Local vendors selling beachwear, wooden handicrafts, massage services, masks and the many seafood restaurants and cafés alongside the coast have been filled with foreign tourists, domestic tourists, and foreign aid workers.

Health

As part of its Counter Trafficking Programme, IOM published and distributed the first 250 sets of HIV/AIDS message playing cards in Sinhala. An additional 4,750 packs are being printed in Sinhala and proofs are ready for 1,000 packs in English and 4,000 packs in Tamil. Some 80 posters and some 200 booklets/leaflets in local languages were sent to IOM in Trincomalee for distribution. These included counter-trafficking posters and brochures and informational material on HIV/AIDS from UNAIDS and the Health Education Bureau of the Ministry of Health. Some 50 counter-trafficking posters, 50 brochures and 100 stickers in three languages from a local NGO were distributed to Trincomalee, Ampara and Batticaloa district field offices.

Hygiene kits were distributed by SCiSL for 9,050 separated children in Jaffna and household kits for 511 families in Trincomalee.

Psycho-social awareness training programmes for 154 local NGO staff, community leaders, volunteers and youth commenced recently in Batticaloa, Galle, Hambantota, Trincomalee, Jaffna, Matara and Kalutara districts. The training programme for the group from Batticaloa district will continue to take place once a month up until December. The workshops are funded by IOM and organized by the local partner organization Sewalanka. Additionally, IOM funded Sewalanka to organize numerous clown performances and workshops in Galle and Hambantota districts. The activities were conducted by two children's performers from the United Kingdom, who shared with the participants' ideas on structured play and skills for children.

Non-food items and shelter

Work has commenced to upgrade IOM's remaining emergency shelters in preparation for the monsoon season in the east. In Batticaloa district, upgrading work commenced on 52 shelter units in Kaluwanchikudy DS division. In Ampara district, preliminary assessments to identify necessary upgrading required for shelters, drainage systems and water and sanitation were completed in 14 IOM-supported camps and improvement work has commenced. Also, upgrading and repair of toilets and drainage works at a site in Kamunakikudy was completed.

During IOM's recent reporting period 648 transitional accommodations were completed on various sites in the country. To date, IOM has completed transitional accommodations for 2,759 tsunami-affected families and a total of 10,183 individuals are at present residing in their new transitional houses. A further 509 transitional accommodations are currently under construction. At present, land has been allocated for IOM to construct a total of 3,867 transitional accommodations on various sites in the country. IOM is prepared to undertake further construction upon request.

The National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) in Galle district is developing a new method to construct housing units at minimum cost using clay as the primary building material. A prototype is being built in the village of Katuruduwa, Akmeemana, about five km inland from Galle Town, as a sample unit to show to beneficiaries and other potential homeowners its worthy and efficient methods. These houses are targeted to accommodate for the population below the poverty line, in particular those who were affected by the tsunami but have no eligibility to the provision of a permanent house.

Permanent settlement areas have been identified in Vadmarachchi East and Mullaitivu Districts according to SCiSL. The Humanitarian Demining group (UDG) has been given responsibility for assessment and clearance of all the locations that have been identified for the construction of permanent houses. ICRC raised the issue of sites being selected without having appropriate water provision. Over 5,000 houses are expected to be constructed in Mullaitivu and Vadamarachchi East, of which 70 per cent are planned to be completed within the end of year 2005.

Education

IOM recently entered into a partnership agreement with the Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation to fund an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) training centre in Matara district. Relief International will fund a similar centre in Ampara district. The joint programme named "Sri Lanka Peace Connectivity Programme" is expected to benefit 1000 youth and 60 NGO staff who will engage in community development and peace building projects.

The UNDP Disaster Risk Management programme in the Galle District, which is overseen by a Sri Lankan national UN Volunteer, Mr. Saman Gunathilaka, recently conducted a Disaster Preparedness and Response Plan Workshop in Habaraduwa Division in early July with the overall goal to put in place a plan as a means to be better prepared in future natural disasters and respond effectively in cases of both natural and man-made disasters. The Disaster Preparedness and Response Plan Workshop is an initiative to introduce the importance of Disaster Preparedness at divisional level to achieve a smooth response mechanism. It also clarifies the role of UNDP on Disaster Risk Management in Sri Lanka, by bringing forward policies, legal and institutional framework of Disaster Management in Sri Lanka (special emphasis on Disaster Management Act and its implications. A second workshop took place on 1 August in Yakkalamulla Division, among the 18 divisions badly affected by heavy rains and floods that took place during May 2003.

Livelihoods

According to the OCHA Field Office in Galle, a return of foreign and domestic tourists in the district has seen beach coastline areas such as Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa filled with holidaymakers bringing in business for local hoteliers, restaurants and café owners, handicraft and beachwear vendors.

The ILO/TAFREN team ran an orientation workshop for the staff deployed to three pilot districts. It was attended by all TAFREN staff as well as some of the 60 Ministry of Labour Relations and Foreign Employment Livelihoods officers seconded to work with TAFREN on livelihoods at district level. The Proceedings of this workshop will be available as Livelihoods orientation resources on one CD and another CD will be produced with the basic training resources and supplementary materials. The CDs will be available soon at the time when TAFREN holds a press conference regarding their work on the livelihoods portfolio. The new CDs will add to the existing CD available on technical and labour standards and guidelines on Cash-for-Work, the latest version of which is dated 29 July. The ILO/TAFREN Livelihoods Unit will start the training of 60 Livelihoods Officers from 15 August using a TOT approach and the team is intending that a core group of trainers will be established to run training and awareness programmes on demand each month if necessary.

The first coordination meeting for Fisheries, Agriculture and Livestock took place in late July, and was well attended by local and international NGOs, as well as representatives from the Fisheries Department, Agriculture Department, and Livestock Department. FAO has had an office in Galle since the end of June with the team concentrating on collecting and updating necessary data and information on assistance given so far; fishermen beneficiary lists, working closely with the Fisheries Department as well as Fishermen Cooperative Societies, of which there are five in Galle District. In the meeting, FAO and Department of Fisheries encouraged innovative ways to assist the fishing industry and to explore methods to assist in fish delivery, fish preserving, fish marketing and storage, such as three-wheelers with cooling facilities, freezer cabinets on motorcycles, and small ice-making machines for small-scale fishermen.

Twelve short booklets aimed at contributing to the promotion of social and economic recovery and livelihoods have been produced by ILO. Each activity is explained, and 'why', 'how' and 'when' (or when not) to implement them. They include; Business development services; Cash-for-work; Community contracting; Food- for-work; Labour-based infrastructure projects; Local economic development; Micro-finance; Micro- and small-enterprise promotion; Public employment services; Start and improve your own business; Vocational and skill training; and women entrepreneurship. The English language versions were released in May 2005 and Sinhalese and Tamil language versions have just been released and can be obtained from the ILO Office in Colombo.

As part of IOM's livelihood training programme conducted in three tsunami-affected districts during the reporting period, 41 IOM beneficiaries who are engaged in goat farming in Batticaloa district were given scientific training on all aspects of goat husbandry while 17 beneficiaries in Matara district who received livelihood assistance were simultaneously provided with business development and entrepreneurship skills training as well as occupational safety training. Eighteeen beneficiaries in Trincomalee district who previously received sewing kits by IOM are receiving training at a recently opened sewing centre on the IOM-constructed transitional accommodation site at Kallady. A vocational training seminar in collaboration with IOM's psycho-social team was conducted for 119 youth in the Matara district on 16 July.

To date, IOM has commenced direct livelihood assistance projects with 1,463 tsunami-affected families who have received replacement tools and equipment. In addition, a considerable number of beneficiaries continue to receive assistance through training programmes implemented or supported by IOM and through capacity building support provided to local organizations. The livelihood projects commenced to date include priority assistance to 394 highly vulnerable tsunami-affected families who are assisted as part of IOM's Japanese funded Counter Trafficking Programme. In addition, through two women's cooperatives, the PARC Women's Empowerment and Dry Fish Livelihood Project and the Nawimana South Rural Development Foundation, IOM has assisted some 156 vulnerable women regain their livelihoods.

Human Appeal International of the United Arab Emirates distributed 100 three-wheelers and 100 sewing machines for the tsunami-affected people to all communities in the Galle, Matara and Hambantota in the South, as well as in Ampara and Trincomalee Districts.

Protection

In SCiSL's Child Protection programme mobilisation meetings have recently conducted in 3 villages in Ampara and a three-day training session on Child Protection conducted was conducted for 30 participants from Women's Development Foundation and PPDS.

Disclaimer

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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