Sri Lanka

IOM Sri Lanka: Tsunami Response Program Update 15 Jul 2005

US Peace Corps Volunteers join IOM Sri Lanka

Four Crisis Corps Volunteers joined the IOM Tsunami Response Programme on 4 July 2005 and have been dispatched to four tsunami-affected districts in the country. The volunteers will assist IOM in the implementation of activities under its Livelihood, Health and Psychosocial Programmes.

Camp Management at IOM Sites

IOM staff continued to monitor camp activities and provide camp management services at IOM-supported camps, IOM-constructed emergency shelter sites and IOM-constructed transitional accommodation sites in Kalutara, Matara, Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts. For instance, in the past two weeks in Trincomalee district, the construction of five toilets have been completed at the Kallady camp and two water bowzers have been installed at the Soodaikuda transitional accommodation site and Kallady camp respectively to cater for immediate sanitation needs.

Transitional Accommodation

On 14 July, Mr. Tilak Ranaviraja Commissioner General of Essential Services (CGES) visited IOM-constructed transitional accommodation sites in Matara district as a part of his tour of the southern province. He expressed his satisfaction with IOM standards in relation to the accommodation sites and available facilities.

The construction of transitional accommodation sites in Negombo district officially commenced on 15 July.

During the reporting period 278 transitional accommodations were completed on various sites in the country. To date IOM has completed transitional accommodations for 2,111 tsunami-affected families and a total of 7,494 individuals are at present residing in their new transitional accommodations. A further 964 transitional accommodations are currently under construction. (For district wise statistic refer table below)

No. of Trans. Acc. Completed during the Reporting period
Total no. of Trans. Acc. Currently Under construction
Total no. of Trans. Acc. Completed to Date
Grand Total

At present, land has been allocated for IOM to construct a total of 3877 transitional accommodations on various sites in the country. IOM is committed to undertake further construction as land is allocated.

Livelihood Activities

The implementation of livelihood development projects has continued to increase steadily during the first half of July. The initial distribution of livelihood assistance in Kalutara district commenced with a livelihood ceremony at the IOM-constructed transitional accommodation site at Modarawila in Panadura on 14 July 2005. Livelihood equipment was handed over to 25 IOM beneficiaries previously identified through an IOM survey.

During the first two weeks of July, IOM commenced livelihood projects with 192 beneficiaries in Kalutara (25), Matara (42), Trincomalee (18), Batticaloa (36) and Ampara (71) districts. (For district wise assistance refer table below)

Assistance Given
Cycle Repairing
String Hopper Making
Retail Shop
Mobile Fish Vending
Mobile Vending
(Vegetables/Short Eats)
Shoe Making
Sweets Making
Goldsmith Industry
Gram Selling
Tin Selling
Kerosene Oil Vending
Spice Packeting
Electrical Wiring
Salt Production

To date, direct livelihood assistance projects have commenced with 1207 tsunami-affected families. In addition, a considerable number of beneficiaries continue to receive assistance indirectly through training programmes implemented by IOM and capacity building support provided by IOM to local organizations.

Psychological - Social / Counter Trafficking Activities

IOM continues to implement psychosocial activities in 5 tsunami-affected districts: Kalutara, Matara, Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee. Psychosocial activities are monitored and implemented by international camp managers, community health surveillance officers, social mobilizers, youth mobilizer and local psychosocial staff under the guidance of the psychosocial coordinator.

In Kalutara district, a psychosocial training programme on general psychosocial awareness was held for 30 field workers and community leaders from 11-13 July. The programme was organized by the local NGO Sewalanka and was funded under the IOM Counter Trafficking Programme. IOM further assisted Sewalanka by way of translating a document that was used during this training programme. In addition IOM supported the painting of a community center under the supervision of the Social Mobilizer and Camp Manager.

In Matara district, IOM supported the screening of two films in two IOM-supported camps. The Psychosocial Monitor participated in “Health Week” that commenced 4 July and was organized by Oxfam. Plans are underway for an information session on skills development, career guidance, trafficking and HIV/AIDS prevention for approximately 150 youths in cooperation with the Ministry of Skills Development, Vocational and Technical Education.

In Ampara district, a locally hired Psychosocial Monitor commenced work in Ampara on 1 July. He will be continuing the projects begun by the Social Mobilizer as well as developing new projects and identifying local partner organizations for IOM to work with in the future.

In Batticaloa district, IOM psychosocial support during the reporting period focused on education, health and activities for women and youth. IOM opened two additional pre-schools in Pannichankeni and extended support to 4 public pre-schools in Kattankudy, bringing the total number of IOM supported pre-schools to 10, benefiting approximately 500 children. A survey on health conditions was conducted in Onthachimadan from 11-13 July. Plans are underway to implement an IOM funded capacity building psychosocial programme for 46 participants from local NGOs, IDPs and community members. Women from two IOM-supported camps in Kattankudy are currently preparing an exhibition of the materials they have created at IOM-funded sewing centers. Field Staff are working with youth to construct playgrounds in five IOM-supported camps in the district.

In Trincomalee district, security conditions hampered some planned activities, however the Social Mobilizer continued with plans organizing the Sunshine Festival (children’s day) to be held in the end of July. IOM will provide both institutional and financial support in cooperation with other organizations to implement this event. On 9 July IOM conducted a psychosocial workshop on issues pertaining to the elderly.

In Jaffna district, a psychosocial training programme on general psychosocial awareness was held for approximately 30 field workers and community leaders from12-14 July. The workshop was organized by Sewalanka and funded by IOM.

To date, 28 sewing centres have been opened in Matara (6), Ampara (17) and Batticaloa (5) districts. These sewing centres serve as both recreational centres and an income-generating project for tsunami-affected populations.

Health Related Activities

IOM organized and funded a one-day mental health-training workshop in cooperation with WHO on 14 July in Jaffna district and was attended by both local and international NGO representatives. The workshop focused on reviewing the available mental health training materials in Sri Lanka and commenced the development of a case study book to complement the mental health-training programme. The workshop was the first phase of a consultative process that will lead to the development of mental health training materials to be used in IOM training for public health workers of the Ministry of Health.

On 15 July, a one-day training workshop was held for 40 primary eye care workers at the Hambantota Base Hospital. The workshop focused on screening and provision of basic eye care services and was the second phase of the capacity building component of the IOM Eye Care Health Pilot Project IOM in Hambantota district.

IOM Community Health Surveillance Officers (CHSOs) in Matara, Ampara and Trincomalee districts continued to monitor health care determinants and facilitate access to health care services for tsunami-affected populations in IOM-supported IDP camps, IOM-constructed transitional accommodation sites and host communities. In Matara district, for example, a patient from Solis camp who had been undergoing treatment for a prosthetic limb following a referral made by IOM was successfully fitted with a artificial polypropylene limb at the Southern Centre for the Disabled in Galle district.

Also during the past two weeks, several referrals have been made by IOM including eye referrals from Kandegodella camp, a surgical referral and ENT referral for patients from Solis camp and one referral to the Gynaecology clinic from the Matara Maha Vidayala Camp. Further, IOM assisted in the distribution of 13 beds donated by Singapore Foundation to Samulu camp. IOM has also taken several steps, including discussions with specialists and pharmacists, to ensure that tsunami-affected populations are given priority at the General Hospital in Matara. The design of a new referral card, which will assist internally displaced people visiting the clinics, is also underway.

In Batticaloa district, the newly recruited CHSO has completed a survey of three IOM-supported camps and steps are being taken to address health and environment issues that have arisen.

Registration and Information Management of Tsunami-affected Populations

The programme aims to support national and district level efforts to establish and maintain a central, standardized, consolidated computerized database of tsunami-affected populations in 13 affected districts and to ensure the smooth flow of such information through varying levels of government. IOM is committed to provide both technical and financial support to the Government of Sri Lanka in this regard and is currently involved in final discussions with the Presidential Secretariat and the University of Moratuwa.

On 5 July IOM attended a meeting with a representative of the Presidential Secretariat and officials from local government in Matara. It was decided that the pilot project would commence in Matara district and issues such as methodology, work plan, staffing and the design of a suitable questionnaire for gathering registration information were among many of the details discussed.


IOM currently maintains a vehicle fleet of 83 lorries each with a cargo capacity of 10 tons.

During the reporting period IOM lorries transported various building materials and livelihood assistance to IOM construction sites and tsunami-affected areas in the country on 74 occasions. In addition, 5 prime movers each with a trailer capacity for a 20 ft container were leased by IOM and transported cement boards to Ampara district.

IOM provides 20 vans collectively to various district offices for the Transitional Accommodation Project (TAP) and Commissioner General of Essential Services (CGES).

IOM continues to provide transport assistance to government agencies, IOs, NGOs and other donors without cost to the recipients.

During the reporting period IOM lorries were dispatched to various tsunami-affected areas in the country on behalf of other agencies on 113 occasions.

Transport assistance included:

  • 88 lorries transported medicines and medical equipment from Colombo Medical Supplies Division and the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) to warehouses in Colombo and various tsunami-affected areas for the Ministry of Health.

  • 12 lorries carrying cement, bed sheets and plastic bags were dispatched to various tsunami-affected areas in Ampara and Batticaloa districts for UNHCR.

  • 6 lorries carrying timber were dispatched to Wadduwa in Amapara district for OXFAM.

  • 4 lorries transported timber to various construction sites in Hambantota district for CARE International.

  • 2 lorries transported plastic bins from Battaramulla in Colombo district to Kalutara and Galle districts for Central Environment Authority (CEA).

  • 2 lorries transported bicycles to Pottuvil in Ampara district for Mercy Corps.

  • 1 lorry carrying medical items was dispatched to Ratmalana in Trincomalee district for International Civil Protection Department (ICPD).

Timber consignment from Oxfam Australia

IOM has been working closely with Oxfam Australia and other agencies involved in shelter construction in relation to a large shipment of timber donated by Oxfam Australia. IOM has agreed to provide logistical support and transport assistance to all recipient agencies. Following the clearance of nineteen 40 ft containers at the Colombo Sea Port, IOM leased 19 prime movers and transported 17 timber containers to various IOM construction sites in Trincomalee (1), Batticaloa (5), Ampara (7) and Negombo (4) districts, one container to Ampara district on behalf of Islamic Relief and one container to Batticaloa district on behalf Oxfam Community Aid Abroad (OCAA).

Funds received

The IOM Tsunami Response Program in Sri Lanka has received generous contributions from:

The Government of Japan, Greece, OCHA, ECHO, USAID, Portugal, South Korea, China, Poland and various Private Donors.

To date, IOM cooperated on tsunami relief activities and/or provided transport assistance to a range of international and national agencies, IOs, NGOs and donors including:

The Government of Sri Lanka, Government of Japan,Austria, Spain, Ireland, Turkey, Hungary, Russia, ECHO,USAID, DFID, UNHCR, WFP, UNJLC, UNICEF,UNAIDS, UNIFEM, UNFPA, MSF-France, ONGDBomberos Unidos Sin Fronteras (Spanish NGO), MDMSpain, Salvation Army, Relief International, Merlin,Assistance Pédagogique Internationale (French NGO),CEYNOR (Norwegian NGO), HELP (German NGO),IFRC, Sri Lankan Red Cross Society, Oxfam, Save theChildren, ZOA, Swiss Red Cross, French Red Cross,CARE, PARC, ACF, SPIR, VOVCOD, ColomboUniversity, TRO, and Pooncholai, KPNDU, Virutcham,the SewaLanka Foundation, Nawimana South RuralDevelopment Fund, Sarvodaya and the SuneraFoundation (local NGOs).