Sri Lanka

IOM Sri Lanka: Tsunami Response Program Update 15 June 2005

Situation Report
Originally published

Transitional Accommodation

IOM Sri Lanka ceremoniously opened a transitional accommodation site at the Kalamulla Carpentry School site in Kalutara on 9 June 2005. The transitional accommodation site consists of 60 units with water, sanitation and electricity facilities. Construction of a community centre and pre-school for the residents is underway.

Forty IOM beneficiaries were handed keys to their new transitional accommodations at the ceremony and moved in shortly afterwards.

Several dignitaries including two ministers, government officials, IOM staff and the local media were present at the ceremony. It was a happy occasion for everyone who participated.

IOM in collaboration with other lead shelter agencies and the Government Agent organized and implemented a Public Information campaign from 30 May-3 June in Matara district in an attempt to identify any existing accommodation gaps. The objective of the campaign was to educate the public of their entitlements to transitional accommodations. The campaign was a success and resulted in hundreds of transitional accommodation applications from the district. The applications are currently in the process of being verified for eligibility.

During the reporting period 445 transitional accommodations were completed on various sites in the country. To date IOM has completed transitional accommodations for 1,278 tsunami-affected families and a total of 4,728 individuals are at present residing in their new transitional accommodations. A further 655 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 3089 transitional accommodations on various sites in the country. IOM is committed to undertake further construction as land is allocated.

Livelihood Activities

IOM's Livelihood Development Team recently concluded a comprehensive field visit to the tsunami-affected districts of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara. The field visits were primarily centred on monitoring the livelihood development projects initiated by IOM for the affected people in IOM-supported camps. Additionally, the team conducted discussions with interested local NGOs for possible collaboration with IOM for development of livelihood projects. The observations and consultations revealed an encouraging improvement in the income levels of the majority of the beneficiaries of IOM sponsored livelihood projects.

The establishment of IOM projects to restore the livelihood of tsunami-affected people continued steadily during the first half of June 2005 with 225 beneficiaries receiving assistance. Assistance provided district wise is summarized below:

Assistance Given
Goat Farming
Mobile Fish Vending
Retail Trading
Paddy Cultivation
Rice Pounding
Kerosene Oil Trading
Vegetable Farming
Vegetable Vendor
Mat Weavers
KunFu Training Centre
Spice Picketing
Cake Making
Ice Packeting
String Hopper Making
Cycle repairing

The livelihood programme was extended to Kalutara district during the first half of June and livelihood surveys commenced with residents of IOM emergency camps and transitional accommodations. During the reporting period 108 primary or secondary-income earners were surveyed in the district.

IOM has assisted 1,008 tsunami-affected families to restore their livelihood to date. The Japanese Government funded Counter-Trafficking Project has helped to establish 545 projects or 54% of the beneficiaries.

Psychological - Social / Counter Trafficking Activities

IOM currently has psychosocial programmes that are being implemented in 5 districts (Kalutara, Matara, Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee). Psychosocial activities are monitored and implemented by international camp managers, community health surveillance officers, social mobilizers, a youth mobilizer and local psychosocial staff under the guidance of the psychosocial coordinator.

A social mobilizer started to work in Kalutara district on 13th June to develop and implement psychosocial activities in IOM assisted communities, such as sports and recreation, cultural activities and educational workshops.

In Matara district, sports and recreation activities were supported by the purchase and distribution of a carom board, 10 tennis balls and 6 air pumps to IOM-assisted camps. In partnership with the local NGO, Women in Need, and the officer in charge of the Women and Child Protection Unit at the Matara Police Station, IOM organized and supported a seminar on Child and Women's Rights and Protection Issues conducted in 5 IOM assisted camps in the district from 7-9 June. Additionally, IOM developed a lecture on occupational health and safety to complement IOM's Livelihood Assistance Programme.

In Ampara district, IOM continued to provide training and support to 14 IOM Family Support Workers. The Family Support Workers have been receiving training on weekends on mental health, drug and alcohol and protection issues and have been working to assist families in the camps during the week. Training has been provided by professionals from Sewalanka, the Ministry of Health and local mental health professionals and has been funded by IOM. IOM supported cultural activities in Ampara district by organizing and funding 5 puppet shows performed in IOM assisted camps from 1-5 June. IOM psychosocial staff also purchased 500 books for children and adolescents in Tamil and English in order to assist two libraries in the Ampara district to re-open.

On 6 June, IOM implemented a program in Ampara, in which 2 residents of IOM-assisted camps distribute newspapers to 22 camps in the Akkaraipattu Division on a daily basis. Plans are in place to expand the project to other divisions in the district. IOM also distributed radios to 13 camps to facilitate access to information and music.

Also in Ampara, IOM began a pilot project on 13 June to address alcohol abuse by inviting religious leaders from each faith to conduct talks on the issues with residents of IOMassisted camps.

The number of IOM-supported sewing and tailoring centres in Ampara district increased to 17 and 10 tea centres for men continued to run under the supervision of the Social Mobilizer.

In Batticaloa district, in the first two weeks of June, IOM continued to support 17 teachers to run 6 preschools, benefiting a total of 307 children. Additionally, IOM helped camp residents form 6 education parents committees. The number of sewing centres in the district has increased to 4 providing 149 women with livelihood and psychosocial support. Two additional centres are planned to open in the near future.

In Trincomalee, IOM's Social Mobilizer, Camp Manager and Community Health Surveillance officer continued to oversee the running of psychosocial support programmes and monitor mental health despite frequent hartals (general strikes) during the reporting period. In the first two weeks of June the Youth Club in Kallady camp hosted a volleyball tournament attended by 120 children, youths and adults and organized a camp clean-up. The IOM supported partner organisation Voluntary Organization for Vulnerable Community Development (VOVCOD) held musical evenings in IOM-assisted camps. These were attended by up to 150 camp residents. The Youth Club in Soodaikudah camp also organized a netball tournament and a camp clean-up.

Under its Counter-Trafficking Program, IOM funded its local partner Sewalanka to run two training of trainers workshops for community workers working with children. These workshops were held on 8-9 June in Galle and 14-15 June in Batticaloa and were attended by a total of 52 people from IOM and local NGOs.

Health Related Activities

IOM Community Health Surveillance Officers (CHSOs) in Matara, Ampara and Trincomalee continued to monitor health care determinants and facilitate access to health care services for tsunami-affected populations in IOM-supported IDP camps and host communities. In Ampara district for example, following an alert by the local authorities of cases of diarrhoea in Thrikkovil DS division, IOM helped investigate the reported cases and confirmed the presence of 'Hepatitis A'. In an effort to prevent the disease, IOM in collaboration with other international agencies and authorities conducted a health education campaign addressing personal and environmental hygiene in Thrikkovil DS division. In Matara, IOM identified 3 cases of chickenpox at the IOM constructed Solis camp. Referrals were made for treatment and measures were taken to control the disease. In addition, a health education program on personal hygiene and water borne diseases was held at the Solis Camp on the 2 June 2005. 27 participants representing 30 families residing in the camp attended the program. The program was implemented by IOM in Collaboration with Rural Friends, a local NGO.

In Matara, 80 first aid kits were procured and distributed amongst IOM-supported IDP camps in the district.

In Jaffna, an IOM Mental Health Nurse carried out a mental health needs assessment 4-5 June. Focus group discussions were held with a variety of organisations such as hospitals and educational institutions in the district.


5 IOM containers with cement boards are currently sea port are currently in the process of being cleared from the Colombo Seaport.


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 126 occasions.

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 101 occasions.

Transport assistance included:

- 39 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.

- 15 lorries transported food items, milk powder, water and other relief items from the Colombo seaport to warehouses in Colombo and other locations throughout the country for the Department of Social Services.?

- 15 lorries carrying cement were dispatched to various construction sites in Ampara for UNHCR.

- 7 lorries carrying GI roofing sheets were dispatched to construction sites in Trincomalee for CARE International.

- 6 lorries transported timber and suitcases to Vaharai, in Batticaloa district and Akkaraipattu, in Ampara district for OXFAM.

- 6 lorries carrying relief items were dispatched to Tangalle in Matara district and Trincomalee district for the Prime Minister's office.

- 4 lorries were provided to Pacific Asia Resource Centre (PARC) for transporting 8 fishing boats to Jaffna district.

- 4 lorries transported bicycles to Kinniya in Trincomalee district for Serendib Institute of Research and Development.

- 2 lorries transported water purification equipment for Action Contre La Feim (ACF).

- 1 lorry carrying plastic rolls was dispatched to Batticaloa for Samaritan's Purse International Relief (SPIR).

- 1 lorry transported shoes to Kalmunai in Ampara district for Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation (CPBR).

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, ONGD Bomberos Unidos Sin Fronteras (Spanish NGO), MDM Spain, Salvation Army, Relief International, Merlin, Assistance Pédagogique Internationale (French NGO), CEYNOR (Norwegian NGO), HELP (German NGO), IFRC, Sri Lankan Red Cross Society, Oxfam, Save the Children, ZOA, Swiss Red Cross, French Red Cross, CARE, PARC, ACF, SPIR, VOVCOD, Colombo University, TRO, and Pooncholai, KPNDU, Virutcham, the SewaLanka Foundation, Nawimana South Rural Development Fund, Sarvodaya and the Sunera Foundation (local NGOs).

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.