Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: North East Joint Humanitarian Update - Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Batticaloa Districts Report No. 05, 01 - 07 Aug 2009


I. Situation Overview & highlights

- On 4 August, the Minister of Power and Energy W.D.J. Senevirathne said Rs.6,000 million is being spent to provide electricity to the Northern Province in support of the resettlement programme. The Ministry plans to provide electricity to the entire province within the next two years. The rehabilitation of power distribution centres and grids in the province is currently underway. Further, the Director of the Power Development Project said electricity will be provided for 35 villages surrounding Vavuniya within the next few months. The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has allocated Rs.100 million for this purpose. Five thousand families will benefit under this programme. The Director stated that electricity will be provided at concessionary rates for these families until their living status improves.

- On 30 July, the Ministry of Health (MoH) received 26 containers of medical equipment and supplies valued at US$ 1.6 million donated by the United States Pacific Command. According to the 10 July Memorandum of Understanding signed between Sri Lanka and the United States, the goods will be quickly transferred to hospitals in the north.


- On 5 August, approximately 3,000 individuals from Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) sites in the Vanni were released to their families and relatives in Jaffna.


- On 5 and 6 August, 552 IDPs returned to their families and relatives in the Trincomalee District on being released from IDP sites in the Vavuniya District.


- Humanitarian agencies continue to report delays, occasional denial and differing procedures in accessing IDP sites in Menik Farm.


- On 6 August, the UK announced additional support to clear northern Sri Lanka of thousands of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from decades of fighting. DFID will give the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) a =A3500,000 grant to help survey minefields and pinpoint UXO as a preliminary step to removal.

- On 7 August, CIDA announced a Canadian $5 million contribution to UN and ICRC humanitarian assistance programmes in Sri Lanka. Canada is also providing funds for humanitarian interventions by WFP, UNHCR, UNOCHA, UNICEF and Canadian NGOs, including CARE, Oxfam Canada and World Vision.

- On 10 August, USAID announced a new donation of US$15 million in food aid to support the return of people displaced by the conflict. Consisting of wheat, lentils and vegetable oil, USAID's second shipment of vital food aid this year will be consigned to WFP and will fulfil the essential food needs of 300,000 people for four months. With this latest donation, USAID will have provided nearly US$59 million of food aid to Sri Lanka in 2008 and 2009.

II. Cluster Overview & highlights


- The Shelter Cluster remains concerned about the imminent prospect of flooding in the sites as a result of monsoon rains. In Menik Farm Zone 1, the Road Development Department (RDD) has completed 60% of trenches being excavated to mitigate the risk of flooding. The Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLLRDC) is following up by deepening these trenches. In Menik Farm Zone 2, UNOPS has completed nearly 25% of the work. In Menik Farm Zone 3, RDD has excavated approximately 90% of the trenches, with SLLRDC due to follow up and deepen them.

- On Menik Farm Sites 6A and 6B, UNOPS has indicated an intention to undertake road drainage.

- In Vavuniya, humanitarian agencies have committed to providing surface drainage around the tents / shelters and are expected to commence work within the next week.

- On Menik Farm Site 6B, 887 shelters have been completed and 108 are in progress.

- On 5 August, a Technical Working Group (TWG) by the Shelter Cluster addressed the construction of shelters for returnees to the Vavuniya District and the Vanni region. Agreement was reached on a comprehensive range of issues and details will be circulated following confirmation of minutes.


- In Trincomalee, approximately a fortnight's rations, consisting of 4 MT of mixed food commodities, were distributed to the 552 returnees from IDP camps in Vavuniya. These returnees will be resettled in the Trincomalee Town and Gravets, Thampalakamam, Kantalai, Morawewa, Kinniya and Muttur District Secretariat (D.S.) Divisions. Six MTs of dry rations had earlier been collected in anticipation of 926 returnees to the district.

- In Trincomalee, food distribution to resettled people and IDPs in welfare centres under the Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) programme has been completed for the month of July. Arrangements are underway to distribute rations for August.


- In Vavuniya IDP sites, between 3-6 August, the Ministry of Health (MoH) conducted a Child Health Campaign with UNICEF, WHO, NGO Sarvodaya and other partners. 27,000 IDP children below the age of 5 years received polio and measles immunization, a mega dose of vitamin A and de-worming treatment according to MoH guidelines.


- Between 1 and 7 August, approximately 146,124m2 of land was cleared in the north and east, of which 92% was Battle Area Clearance (a quick visual method) and the balance was minefield clearance using mechanical and manual methods.

- On 4 August, the Ministry of Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development (MNBEID) held a meeting with mine action stakeholders and UNDP to discuss joint surveys between the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and demining agencies. This strategy is under consideration in order to facilitate the speedy clearance of mine/UXO contaminated land for resettlement.

- In Vavuniya on 5 August, 6 new mine/UXO survey and clearance tasks were issued in Pampaimadu, Poovarasakulam, Salambaikulam, Illamaruthankulam, Maruthamadu and Palamoddai areas in the Vavuniya D.S. Divisions.

- In Vavuniya, joint surveys by the SLA, representatives of the Vavuniya Government Agent's office, Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and the Vavuniya District Mine Action Office (DMAO), (commenced on 27 July) continued in 33 villages planned for resettlement of IDPs from the older caseload.


- With UNICEF support an additional 15 Temporary Learning Spaces (TLS) are being constructed bringing the total number of TLS constructed so far to 222, providing access to education to over 55,000 children.

- In order to respond to the needs the number of children per shift has been increased from 200 to 350 per day.


- During the reporting period, 100 latrines, and 34 bathing spaces have been constructed.

- On an average, a total of 10,185 cubic meters of water is provided on a daily basis, including 2,193 cubic meters of treated drinkable water from treatment plans and 2,200 cubic meters of drinkable water from tube wells.

- 291 water storage tanks with taps have been installed.

- Due to space constraints for construction, the new total target for latrines construction at Menik Farm is 8,752, of which 8,512 have been completed. The WASH Cluster is currently focusing on the care and maintenance of existing WASH related facilities with funding from UNICEF and UNOPS.

- Strategic issues such as the implications of the wet season are being discussed by a Strategic Advisory Group and preparedness and mitigations plans for upcoming floods are currently under development.

- 10 water treatment plants have been installed at Shahanagama IDP camp in Trincomalee.