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Caught in the Crossfire: Sri Lanka Crisis

  • April 27, 2009

As a violent civil war wanes in Sri Lanka, AmeriCares is working hard delivering and preparing emergency medical aid. One shipment of nearly $500,000 worth of aid has arrived and more emergency aid is being prepared. Intense fighting in northeastern Sri Lanka caused mass casualties and displaced over 100,000 innocent people. Accounts by survivors paint a picture of a true humanitarian crisis.

The most recent shipment of vital medicines and supplies to help treat people hurt in the bloody conflict has arrived and is slated for delivery in the coming days.

“We are working closely with the Ministry of Health to determine how we may provide more assistance,” reported Lisa Hilmi, AmeriCares Sri Lanka Country Director.

Many of the people who need medical help are women and children. Maternity kits, antibiotics and bandages are among the medical aid to be distributed. Hygiene kits and other humanitarian relief will also be distributed in the conflict zone for women and children that have been displaced by the fighting.

Nearly half of the people fleeing the violence have been injured and need surgery. Responding to this dire need, AmeriCares emergency shipment also includes IV kits for hospitals and blood packs for the National Blood Transfusion Center.

AmeriCares has worked extensively in Sri Lanka since the tsunami in 2004. This year, a donation of 21,000 surgical scrub brushes were distributed to hospitals around the country and are being used during surgery on many of the casualties of war.

Many of the areas on the eastern coast that were devastated by the tsunami have also been impacted by the conflict and have provided refuge for families fleeing the war zone.  In 2007 and 2008, AmeriCares supported a project aimed at strengthening the health care systems for 50,000 people in this area. AmeriCares also assisted displaced families in 2006 and 2007 with the distribution of hygiene kits and dry food items, when over 70,000 were affected by conflict.

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