In a world of global challenges, continued poverty, inequity, and increasing vulnerability to disasters and disease, the International Federation with its global network, works to accomplish its Global Agenda, partnering with local community and civil society to prevent and alleviate human suffering from disasters, diseases and public health emergencies.
In Sri Lanka, the Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) tsunami recovery operation has made good progress over the last six months, successfully completing a number of projects that are focused on the broad recovery needs of the affected communities as well as ensuring their future protection from recurrent hazards.
The recovery operation currently comprises over 450 projects of which 223 projects have been completed. The most evident progress has been made in the southern districts where project implementation has not been affected by the conflict and insecurity that has prevailed in the north and areas in the east of the country. In the parts of the north that remain under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the majority of RCRC tsunami recovery projects remain suspended on security grounds.
The most significant area of progress has been in the permanent housing sector which constitutes the largest component of the recovery operation. During the past six months, over 2,500 houses have been completed in several districts. To date, 21, 618 houses have been completed 9,534 houses are currently under construction. It is anticipated that by the second quarter of 2009 the RCRC will have achieved its target of building or contributing to the construction of 31,000 houses.
The RCRC health infrastructure development programme is also making good progress. Projects involving the construction of new hospitals and health centres, hospital extensions as well as the renovation and refurbishment of existing health facilities are advancing at a steady pace in parallel with the provision of new medical equipment. So far, 31 RCRC projects have been completed, 35 are currently underway while an additional three projects are at their tendering or design stage. The health infrastructure development programme is on schedule for completion by the first quarter of 2010.
RCRC partners have completed approximately 40 livelihood projects across the country that have brought additional economic security to upwards of 30,000 families. With the exception of a few long-term projects livelihoods programming is expected to draw to a close by the second quarter of 2009.
One priority for RCRC livelihoods programming has been to help newly re-settled housing beneficiaries to integrate with their surrounding host communities by reducing the threat of any potential communal tensions. According to programme evaluations, projects focused on supporting individual households and members of the wider community with cash grants have had a positive impact, helping people to rebuild their lives and livelihoods while also leaving behind a legacy of safer and better-prepared communities.
In Sri Lanka, the RCRC have adopted a more collaborative and integrated approach to programming in the core areas of health and care, disaster management, organizational development and the promotion of humanitarian values. Greater emphasis on areas such as beneficiary communication, conflict sensitivity, sustainability, and field-based monitoring and evaluation, have led to a greater impact in RCRC projects and better opportunities for joint learning between RCRC partners, communities and government counterparts.
No RCRC programme teams have concluded their operations in Sri Lanka during this reporting period, most however, have begun preparing their exit strategies. This process involves strategic support that will strengthen the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society and support a smooth transition for the national society from tsunami programming to a focus on long term core programmes.