The Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery Mr. Eric Schwartz visits Sri Lanka between 4-6 May to assess progress made.
Some 300 participants participated in the UNESCO conference in Colombo for World Press Freedom Day on 3 May. They adopted a declaration calling for freedom of the press to be recognized as a core element in development strategies.
Main challenges and response
The Care and Maintenance sector has been neglected in Ampara for over six months due to uncertainty in funds from TAP (Transitional Accommodation) / IOM and other donor agencies. TAP no longer exists, and on 27 April, IOM re-convened the TS discussions with agencies which are willing to undertake Care and Maintenance programmes in Ampara District. The latest IOM figures indicate a total of 4,269 shelters in 60 sites. OCHA Ampara reports that in TS discussions it was clear that many sites have not been included in this final number, including those belonging to Sewa Lanka and Oxfam Australia. Because of the lack of current information on TS in Ampara, the C&M Working Group will undergo a cross-referencing of IOM data and OCHA/HIC TSST to ensure that the working figures are the same for everybody. IOM plan to take on the Care and Maintenance responsibilities of any sites that have no willing agency. The Working Group hopes to verify and get the latest TS information within two weeks. OCHA will assist the process by cross-referencing with the existing TSST data.
Coordination and common services
UN Inter-Agency teams conducted on 28 April 2006, in cooperation and in partnership with national and international NGOs, preliminary joint assessment missions in order to establish humanitarian needs and vulnerabilities around Muthur and Eachilampattai in Trincomalee district, which might have emerged after 24 April 2006. Some 6,252 families totaling 21,554 people are currently displaced as a result of the escalation of violence starting April 11. The UN agencies started immediate deliveries of aid to affected areas. They are working in full cooperation with the Government Task Force chaired by Governor Wijewickrama in order to assist government relief efforts, as well as with NGO partners and the Red Cross Movement. The Inter-Agency Consolidated report (last updated on 2 May) is posted online at http://www.humanitarianinfo.org/srilanka/docs/Sri%20Lanka_Consolidated_Report_Trincomlaee_Displacement-April%202006.pdf *
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) was activated on 27 April. The IASC is an inter-agency forum for coordination, policy development and decision-making involving the key UN and non-UN humanitarian partners. A second meeting is scheduled for 4 May to follow-up on the situation in Trincomalee, the assessment of humanitarian needs and on-going response.
The outcome of the 20 April and 22 April meetings between INGOs and the Ampara District Secretariat and Muslim Leaders was that the GA and the GoSL Security Forces agreed to pass on messages to their officers in the field for appropriate checkpoint behaviour, and a reminder to the Divisional Secretaries to keep vigilant and report of any incidents of misconduct of international organizations. It was conveyed by the GA that if any staff are threatened they should report to the police immediately and the Security Forces will take action. The GA also requested that all INGOs review their conduct to ensure there is nothing untoward going on in their agencies.
The deadline 25 April, for women NGOs workers to resign in Batticaloa district passed without any major incidents although some sporadic tension still remain among targeted INGOs. OCHA Batticaloa field office reports that several INGOs sent their international staff to Colombo under precautionary and temporary measures. No offices have been closed and the programmes are still running with the assistance of national staff.
In an effort to continue strengthening the under-resourced capacity of local and district government levels, FAO provided a package of assistance to the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR) in the form of computers and associated equipment on April 28.
The Government is providing one weeks food rations to the current caseload of displaced in Trincomalee District. WFP with the Ministry of Nation Building and Development are moving "buffer stocks" to the area.
World Vision recently distributed Samaposha packages (high protein food) to 545 pregnant and lactating mothers in Batticaloa.
Water and sanitation
In Batticaloa World Vision has started the construction of 300 tube wells in Kaluwanchikudy DS Division while construction of 90 permanent toilets at Chetipalayam, 50 at Kaluthawalai and 50 at Kaluwanchikudy are ongoing. World Vision is currently conducting a survey with the collaboration of Predeshiya Saba and Divisional Secretariat to evaluate the ground situation in Kaluwanchikudy DS Division, in order to further construct a drainage system that would remedy the flooding experienced almost every year.
In Ampara temporary measures have been taken to dump all human waste at Sammanturai. World Vision will be doing a permanent dumping site and other actors will be contributing with building a culvert and roads to this site. UNICEF and OXFAM GB are concerned of the on-going construction of houses by organizations in sites where there is no solution for water supply within the next three years. Urgent discussion on this matter needs to be followed up as soon as possible. This was delayed due to the security incidents which postponed the discussions.
The Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) has completed the construction of 25 houses out of 275 houses in Mullaitivu while construction of 125 toilets and 44 is complete. The TRO is still overseeing the camp management of all tsunami camps in Jaffna and the Vanni.
Non-food items and shelter
A special meeting for Home-Owner Driven Housing headed by the GA on 25 April and facilitated by IOM; IOM announced that they will be stepping down as the lead agency for the sector on 11 May. Talks are under way for Help from Germany or UN Habitat to be the lead agency. At the meeting the GA explained the government definition for a partly damaged and fully damaged house. If a house is damaged more than 40 per cent that house is fully damaged, otherwise it is a partially damaged house.
The GA stressed that INGOs should concentrate on fully damaged houses as the government has paid 100,000 rupees for a partially damaged house and said that was sufficient to repair the house. UN Habitat is building 6,000 houses in the district which will be more than half of what is needed in the district. The GA further stated that any agency can find their own beneficiary but stressed that agencies should inform the NERPH and the Divisional Secretaries.
Twenty three permanent houses constructed at Nanatota, Balapitiya have been handed over to beneficiaries by the Lions Club of Nugegoda on 22 April.
In Galle two site level workshops were carried out at Katugoda and Kanampitiya by Norwegian Refugee (NRC) Council recently. NRC reported that workshops were successful due to strong participation of community members. Data collection for TSST (Transitional Shelter Site Tracking) is being carried out by NRC. So far information has been collected from 45 sites in all divisions except for Balapitiya.
Recently World Vision Lanka laid the foundation stone for two tsunami-affected schools in Batticaloa District. "Catch-up Education" classes for low achievers started for Grade 4 & 5 children in Malayarkattu & Sinnawatte schools in Batticaloa and the Zonal Director of Education of Kalkudah started "Catch-up Education" classes for 450 school drop-outs with UNICEF support.
As part of ILO's CB-TREE project (Skills Development for Economic Empowerment and Creation of Livelihoods) a workshop on community planning and technical working group in Ampara District is underway with 21 participants from Pothuvil, Kalmunai, Karaithivu and Sainthamaruthu DS Divisions including five local NGOs.
The Divisional Secretary of Kalmunai (Tamil Division) has agreed to register the community group for the establishment of the community fund. Amidst civil disturbance in pockets of Ampara District, the project activities are progressing. All materials needed for project implementation are being translated to local languages for the use of partner agencies and communities.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) distributed 500 fishing nets and associated fishing gear including ropes, twine and floats to 25 tsunami-affected fishers from the district of Batticaloa on April 28. Each beneficiary received two sets of fishing gear suitable for tuna long-line fishing. The total value of the 50 kits handed out was just over US$10,000.
FAO is currently distributing an additional 119 sets of fishing gear to 87 beneficiaries in the southern district of Matara. Some 988 nets form part of the total aid package being handed over to these beneficiaries. This distribution of fishing gear brings the total number of fishing nets distributed to 44 612, with altogether 4,025 fishers having benefited in eight coastal districts. FAO's overall fisheries-related assistance foresees the distribution of some 95,000 fishing nets in all.
Noselemu Appi a local NGO has provided training in sewing for 12 beneficiaries whilst another 20 beneficiaries have been selected for future trainings. The organization is to provide sewing machines to these trained beneficiaries and garments produced are to be sold to tourist hotels.
University of Colombo is in the process of completing the Divisional Livelihood Recovery Plan of Ambalangoda. The plan for Bentota division is almost complete whilst its revalidation has to be done.
The Divisional Livelihood Development Planning process, facilitated by the RADA Livelihood Unit and supported by the ILO-IRTAP (Income Recovery Technical Assistance Programme) has been finalized in 14 divisions in Hambantota, Galle, Killinochichi and Jaffna, and is ongoing in 17 divisions in Ampara and Batticaloa but is encountering delays in Trincomalee. Draft divisional livelihood development plans are currently under review by RADA and ILO and will be submitted to the District Secretaries shortly for endorsement. The Coordination and Planning System (CAPS), which is the district livelihood supply database, is operational in Galle, Ampara, Hambantota, Matara and Trincomalee with positive results. Once a comprehensive DAD district database has been developed and introduced, CAPS will be incorporated into this.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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