Sri Lanka

Joint Humanitarian and Early Recovery Update - Report # 30 - (January - March 2011)

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I. SITUATION OVERVIEW & HIGHLIGHTS

  • By 20 April 2011, 16,606 persons (5,069 families) await resettlement in Menik Farm, almost entirely (98%) from areas in Mullaitivu District heavily contaminated with landmine/other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), yet to be released for humanitarian demining. Agencies continue maintenance activities on nearly 5,400 emergency shelters in Zones 0 and 1, while decommissioning unused shelters in vacated areas to remove potential protection hazards, as well as breeding grounds for pests. Zone 1 blocks are progressively receiving electricity connections. Access to water remains a concern in Zone 0 as work to install pipelines continues. Nevertheless IDPs received water supplies above the SPHERE standard of 7.5‐15 litres daily per person through a combination of sources, including bowsers, wells and the nearby Malwathu Oya river.

  • Between 1 January and 20 April 2011, the organised return movements took place from Menik Farm to the following districts:

  • Mannar District: 85 persons (20 families) to Madhu Divisional Secretariat Divisions (DSD) on 1 February - Mullaitivu District: 197 persons (59 families) to Maritimepattu DSD on 29 March; 297 persons (89 families) to Oddusuddan DSD on 1 April; 422 persons (127 families) to Maritimepattu on 8 April; 292 persons (105 families) to Maritimepattu DSD on 20 April.
    Consequently a total of 371,869 persons (113,941 families) will have returned to their areas of origin.

  • Some progress is noted in a few transit situations in Mullaitivu District. Some 100 persons (30 families) stranded since January 2011 have received military authorization to clear and fence plots of land in preparation for return. However the group is reluctant to return as it will be dispersed, opting to wait until the rest of the community – approximately 200 families living with host communities at present – return in the next few months. However 197 persons (59 families), who departed Menik Farm for to resettle in Maritimepattu have not been able to return directly home due to ongoing demining and are presently in transit sites. The returnees have access to water and sanitation facilities and will receive food rations, nonfood items (NFIs) and the cash grant.

  • In late March 2011, local authorities revised downward by 35% the number of IDPs living in host communities in Vavuniya District, a reduction of approximately 8,300 persons to a remaining total of approximately 13,700. This is the first update in such statistics since July 2010.

  • Dialogue between the UN and the Sri Lankan Government continues to seek a streamlined mechanism at both central and local levels for approval of humanitarian access to the Northern Province. Current procedures require authorizations by the Presidential Task Force for Resettlement, Development and Security in the North (PTF), the Ministry of Defence, as well as consultations with local officials. Meanwhile, following discussions with the PTF, the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator has stated that district administrations remain the focal point for UN and NGO partners in implementation of humanitarian programmes.

  • Media reported the release of some 106 rehabilitated former LTTE combatants on 2 March, and another 206 on 1 April. The Commissioner‐General of Rehabilitation has announced that the planned release of 483 on 23 April would bring the number of released ex‐combatants to approximately 7,000, with 4,100 remaining in ‘protective custody and rehabilitation centres’.

  • The ICRC closed its office in Vavuniya in late March, following a government request to run its operations exclusively from Colombo. The ICRC office in Jaffna was closed at the end of February. The ICRC continues to work with the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, to respond to remaining humanitarian needs. In particular, the ICRC will continue to support beneficiaries of the Red Cross Family Visit Programme, which allows families to maintain links with relatives in custody.

  • The Presidential Task Force (PTF) for Resettlement, Development and Security in the Northern Province has adopted the 3W (Who, What, Where) as a standard format for reporting, to provide a basis for operational coordination and support project monitoring at the central/local levels. Monitoring will be on a twomonthly cycle. A joint government‐OCHA IMU team has been established for technical issues and data collection. The PTF Secretary has called for a sector review meeting of activities for 2011 via the 3W platform.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.