Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: North East Joint Humanitarian Update - Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya, and Trincomalee Districts Report No. 16, 19 Dec 2009 -01 Jan 2010

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I. Situation Overview & highlights

Jaffna District:

- The A9 road from the Jaffna Peninsula was opened for public and private vehicles from 18 December, with movement permitted between 6.00am and 4.00pm. Travel no longer requires authorization. However, the transport of goods will continue to take place through vehicle convoys and standard registration processes. The UN is consulting with the relevant government authorities to clarify use of the A9 road for UN/INGO vehicles.

- On 27 December, the Governor of the Northern Province Major General G. A. Chandrasiri met UN/INGO representatives as a follow-up to previous meetings. Minister for Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda was also present. The Governor discussed UN/INGO support to resettled/released families in Jaffna and requested additional support for immediate assistance, such as transportation, shelter and WASH. The Governor also requested support for livelihood projects (fishing nets, agriculture inputs). During the meeting, he reviewed and approved for implementation all projects submitted by agencies during the last District Review Board meeting on 18 December. All projects were approved for implementation and agencies requested to start immediately.

- The Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda announced that of 30 December the curfew in Jaffna District will be lifted.

Kilinochchi District:

- On 23 December, the office of the Government Agent (GA) for Kilinochchi District started functioning out of its previous premises in Kilinochchi town. Administrative functions for Kilinochchi were carried out from Vavuniya during the conflict.

Trincomalee District:

- The Governor of the Eastern Province, Rear Admiral Wijewickrema announced that as of 1 January, the remaining fishing restrictions in the seas off the Eastern coast would be lifted to allow for 24 hours of fishing, although excluding the High Security Zones in the Trincomalee Harbor. The announcement was made at a meeting with representatives of the fishing community at the naval office in Trincomalee. Admiral Wijewickrema added that only suspicious fishing craft would be subjected to security checks. The fishing permit system will also be abolished but fishermen were advised to keep permits already issued as proof of identity if required.

Vavuniya District:

- An increase in dengue cases was first noted in the Vavuniya Medical Officer of Health (MOH) area in early September. Up to 25 December, 860 cases were reported. The MOH has taken appropriate action to address this situation. Firstly, massive clean-up campaigns have been conducted in Menik Farm and elsewhere in Vavuniya District, such as in areas surrounding the hospitals, to decrease the density of the dengue vector. These campaigns have been coupled with regular health education sessions within the communities by volunteers and health workers. The public is encouraged to seek early treatment. Secondly, the clinical management of dengue patients is also being improved by providing refresher courses to doctors and nurses.

- Incidences of other priority diseases under surveillance in Menik Farm have declined. Between 19 and 25 December, a total of 161 diarrhoea cases, 12 chickenpox cases, two dysentery cases and one typhoid case were reported.