Sri Lanka

IOM/OCHA Sri Lanka: Humanitarian Situation Report 10 - 14 Jun 2005

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Situation
The Special Task Force (STF) of the Sri Lankan police continue providing humanitarian service to tsunami-affected people in some 90 camps in the north-east. There are 26 IDP centres managed by the military and STF in Ampara district, 30 IDP centres in Batticaloa and 19 in Trincomalee. One of the tasks of the STF is to identify local and foreign non-governmental organisations to provide necessary assistance to camp residents.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has announced that it has introduced a new loan scheme for small-scale businesses destroyed by the tsunami. Under the new loan facility, Credit Guarantee System, the government will provide guarantees to the commercial banks on behalf of the affected businessmen and industrialists. According to the Central Bank, it has allocated over Rs.2 billion for the tsunami-affected small businessmen.

Overview of activities

In Batticaloa district, ACTED has completed training 90 women as volunteer community hygiene promoters. With the support of district Public Health Inspectors, women have been trained in techniques to communicate hygiene messages particularly to women and children and are now actively promoting improved hygiene practices in their communities. The training included safe water handling and storage, food hygiene, safe latrine use, hand washing and solid waste management. ACTED has also produced visual information and educational materials -- leaflets targeting the particular concerns of women and colouring books for children. The colouring books, which come with colouring pencils as well, contain pictures promoting good hygiene practices with basic messages in Tamil.

Save the Children in Sri Lanka (SCiSL) reports that it has provided 542 pre-school children and 17 teachers from 14 pre-schools in Trncomalee district child and teacher packs. In Ampara SCiSL has provided livelihood support through partner organizations in the agricultural sector to some 137 familes. SCiSL has also signed an agreement with the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DOFAR) to provide 400 fishing boats, engines and fishing gear to fishermen who have lost their livelihoods, and is in the process of verifying a beneficiary list. SCiSL is also in the process of establishing 50 libraries to be managed by children in Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Ampara, Kilinochchi and Mulativu. An agreement has been signed between SCiSL and the Tamils' Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) on 13 June. SCiSL will provide books, play material and furniture and also train children to manage the libraries. These libararies will be housed in semi permanent structures at the IDP camps with a view, under SCiSL's five-year plan of eventually merging them into regional libraries.

Tsunami-affected people in Beruwela Pradeshiya Sabha (BPS), Kalutara district are regaining livelihoods by repairing roads damaged by the tsunami. Thirteen men and seven women are working under a Cash-for-Work pilot project assisted by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Implemented by BPS technical officers, the project is based on the ILO Labour-based Technology. The ILO is providing direct funding and technical oversight for the activities. The project, which commenced in April for a period of six-months, is currently conducting repairs on two small roads connected to the A2 National Highway (Colombo-Galle). The project provides 1,600 workdays for cleaning up debris and repairing the roads. The experiences from this pilot project will be valuable in policy technical advice which the ILO provides through the Rapid Income Recovery Programme (RIRP) of TAFREN.

Challenges and Responses

The situation in Mandana camp, Thirukkovil division, Ampara district provides a good example of how the government, UN agencies and NGOs remain pro-active in their response to continuing humanitarian relief concerns. As recently as 9 June, the population of the Mandana camp, which held 592 families in March, was down to 161 families. Construction of transitional shelters, lack of transportation and incidents of violence had caused some residents to relocate, but the principal reason for the exodus was a report of several cases of Hepatitis A which quickly evolved into a rumour of the existence of a yellow fever outbreak, prompting a camp-wide scare. UN agency and NGO representatives with government health authorities took swift preventive measures, including safeguarding water supplies, spraying for mosquitoes and stepping up awareness raising activities regarding Hepatitis A and a campaign to assure residents there was no evidence of yellow fever. The Divisional Secretary (DS) of Thirukkovil finally decided late last week to close Mandana camp citing the hepatitis outbreak among other things. Of the remaining camp population, 55 families returned to their places of origin in Vinayagapuram 3 and 4, some to newly constructed transitional shelters by IOM and Oxfam GB and others to friends and relatives. Another 115 families were moved from Mandana to the Peoples Church Kudinirthidal/Sanganman Camp after an equivalent number of families relocated from the Peoples Church Camp to their own land outside the buffer zone in Tambiluvil or went to stay with relatives there. The houses in Tambiluvil are believed to be habitable but an assessment of the shelter, water and sanitation needs is on-going. The government, UN agencies and NGOs are responding to the immediate humanitarian needs created by these relocations. CAM and Oxfam GB redirected their water trucks from Mandana Camp to serve the needs of the Vinayagapuram residents; some 75 water tanks have been positioned by IOM and Oxfam GB in Vinayagapuram, of which 25 were provided by World Vision; 67 toilets have been constructed to date by Mercy Corps and Oxfam GB, and another 98 are expected to be completed within weeks in Vinyagapuram. CAM will move their Health Clinic from Mandana Camp to Vinayagapuram; UNICEF is assessing school transportation needs; and GOAL has strengthened the ongoing well-cleaning activities by Green Movement and Oxfam GB with an extra team to Oxfam GB to speed up the well-cleaning in Vinayagapuram. Meanwhile, all remaining tents and other structures are being removed from Mandana camp and the site is being completely cleared.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has published a set of guides on recommended management and policy options for employment friendly reconstruction in Sri Lanka following the tsunami. The collection of short guides describes a number of activities (based upon labour, enterprise and business development, training and local area development) that will contribute to the promotion of both social and economic recovery and livelihoods. Each activity is explained, and 'why', 'how' and 'when' (or when not) to implement it. The set includes 12 short booklets, each approximately 10 pages, on the following topics: 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 & improve your own business; Vocational and skill training; and Women entrepreneurship. Beside the English version, the booklets will soon be available in Sinhalese and Tamil.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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