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Relief Workers Report from Former Conflict Zone
Sri Lanka’s Manik Farm is a camp that shelters nearly 200,000 displaced people. Thousands of families cannot go home despite the recent end of the country’s civil war. To help support the refugees, AmeriCares sent relief workers to the former conflict zone to provide emergency aid and assess health care needs. In response, two emergency airlifts of additional medicines, medical supplies and humanitarian aid will soon be delivered.
One emergency airlift will depart from AmeriCares U.S. headquarters and the other from AmeriCares India in Mumbai. The vital deliveries include medicines, surgical equipment and medical supplies to treat pain, infections, injuries and wounds.
AmeriCares relief workers on the ground report that many civilians were wounded in the fighting or injured during their escape. The need for medical treatment is great. Earlier this week, AmeriCares staff donated medical and humanitarian aid to the Vavuniya Hospital and other health clinics within the former conflict zone.
“The hospital was overwhelming. Their maximum capacity is 400 patients, but there were over 2,000 the day we visited. Patients were waiting on the floors outside, without food, and many without clothes,” reported one AmeriCares relief worker. “They looked shell-shocked, many had injuries from the bombings – their eyes vacant and traumatized. Luckily through our donations, 500 families in the children’s unit received some much-needed supplies.
“The health clinics were heart-wrenching. A poor widow lay listless in the dirt waiting for help; she was suffering from fever and malnutrition. Her three small, frightened children surrounded her,” the aid worker shared. “We were quickly able to negotiate transportation for her to the local hospital so she could receive urgent care. At that moment, it re-affirmed what AmeriCares is all about – helping vulnerable people in their dire time of need.”
AmeriCares has worked extensively in Sri Lanka since the Southeast Asian tsunami in 2004. 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. Since fighting escalated during the last months of the decades-long conflict, AmeriCares has delivered over $16 million worth of lifesaving medical aid to communities in war-torn Sri Lanka.
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