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Renewed civil strife in Sri Lanka has caused more than 200,000 people to flee their homes and villages in search of safe ground, and AmeriCares is reaching out to support these displaced people in their time of need.
AmeriCares prepared more than 3,100 ‘family aid kits’ that include hygiene products, bed sheets, a mat, water, tea and food. These kits have been distributed by AmeriCares local partners, Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) and Muslim AID, to affected families in the hard hit districts of Trincomalee and Batticaloa, providing immediate relief to more than 15,000 people displaced by the conflict. The value of these kits is estimated at over $50,000.
For more than two decades, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels have been in conflict with the Sri Lankan government over the right to an independent state in the northeast part of the island, resulting in over 65,000 deaths. Despite a ceasefire in 2002, and a spirit of peace and cooperation that prevailed after the December 2004 tsunami, civil conflicts resumed late in 2005 and have worsened over the past few months.
“Currently, more than 800,000 people have been displaced from the combined tragedies of the conflict and the tsunami,” says AmeriCares Country Director Lisa Hilmi. “We are working to support the immediate needs for those suffering as a result of the civil conflict as well as continuing our ongoing work for post-tsunami recovery needs.”
AmeriCares established a Tsunami Relief Program in Sri Lanka in December 2004. Today, AmeriCares Sri Lanka is working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and a variety of non-governmental organizations to address some of the most pressing issues of the recovery effort, including health care, education, water supply/sanitation needs and livelihood issues.