Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Complex Emergency Fact Sheet #5

(FY) 2007

by US AID, September 30, 2007

USAID/OFDA is funding to Save the Children/UK (SC/UK), the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and World Vision to support protection activities and provide material assistance for conflict-affected families in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
BUREAU FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT, AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE (DCHA)
OFFICE OF U.S. FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE (OFDA)

NOTE: The last fact sheet was dated June 1, 2007.

KEY DEVELOPMENTS

- Beginning on September 1, renewed fighting between the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Musalai Division of the northwestern district of Mannar displaced an estimated 5,000 people. Aid agencies provided food and relief items to internally displaced persons (IDPs), meeting humanitarian needs. Within a few days, IDPs had begun returning home; however, the exact number of remaining IDPs is unknown.

- A two-person USAID/OFDA team has been working in Colombo since August 1, 2007. The team is working closely with USAID/Sri Lanka to monitor and report on the humanitarian conditions and existing USAID/OFDA programs in coordination with U.N. agencies, the GOSL, and implementing partners.

- USAID/OFDA has established an emergency funding mechanism implemented by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to provide sub-grants to humanitarian aid organizations that are responding to crises involving conflict-affected populations.

NUMBERS AT A GLANCE SOURCE
IDPs in Batticaloa District 38,349 GOSL – September 12, 2007
IDPs displaced by conflict since April 2006 (1) 300,000 IDMC (2) – September 26, 2007

HUMANITARIAN FUNDING PROVIDED IN FY 2007

USAID/OFDA Assistance to Sri Lanka: $6,957,134 *
USAID/FFP (3) Assistance to Sri Lanka: $14,085,600 **
State/PRM
(4) Assistance to Sri Lanka: $4,965,000 ***
Total USAID and State Humanitarian Assistance to Sri Lanka: $26,007,734

* OFDA = Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance

** FFP = Food for Peace

*** State/PRM = U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (STATE/PRM)

CURRENT SITUATION

- Since early 2006, renewed conflict between the GOSL and the LTTE has displaced more than 300,000 people according to the GOSL. In addition, more than 200,000 IDPs remained displaced from previous years of conflict or from the December 2004 tsunami.

- Since arriving in Sri Lanka on August 1, USAID/OFDA staff have traveled to Batticaloa District to assess the conditions of conflict-affected populations on three occasions. In Batticaloa District, the population displaced by recent conflict peaked at more than 150,000 in March 2007. Through a phased, government-managed returns process, the number of IDPs dropped to approximately 38,000 by September 12, 2007. According to the USAID/OFDA team, displaced populations that have returned to areas of origin generally are glad to have returned, but remained concerned about insecurity and difficulties resuming livelihoods.

- From September 17 to 20, the USAID/OFDA field officer traveled to Vavuniya and Mannar districts in northern Sri Lanka to assess humanitarian conditions. The field officer met with U.N. agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and government officials. Humanitarian aid agencies and local authorities are meeting most needs of recently displaced populations in Vavuniya and Mannar districts. However, a small percentage of the 5,000 people displaced by recent fighting are not consistently receiving support from international aid agencies due to problems with access linked to security conditions in the area.

Humanitarian Access and Protection

-The USAID/OFDA team in Sri Lanka facilitated a meeting between U.S. Ambassador Robert O. Blake and U.S.-based NGOs on September 21. The discussion centered on issues of humanitarian access, questions regarding the High Security Zones, and the humanitarian situation for newly resettled populations. Several NGOs reported challenges accessing certain areas in northern Sri Lanka.

-Humanitarian organizations are working to access all areas of return, particularly west Batticaloa District. Access has significantly improved since IDPs began returning to west Batticaloa District in March 2007.

-The USAID/OFDA team is monitoring protection issues concerning vulnerable populations, including displaced persons and returnees. Protection continues to be a critical concern for the conflict-affected population.

-USAID/OFDA is funding to Save the Children/UK (SC/UK), the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and World Vision to support protection activities and provide material assistance for conflict-affected families in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

-From September 10 to 23, a USAID/OFDA water, sanitation, and hygiene advisor traveled to Sri Lanka. The advisor monitored USAID-funded water, sanitation, and hygiene projects as well as the conditions of conflict-displaced IDPs and returnees in Batticaloa and Ampara districts.

-USAID/OFDA is providing funding to the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) to provide health and hygiene education and sanitation services to 12,500 IDPs and nearby community members. USAID/OFDA has supported the provision of water and sanitation facilities for 3,250 IDPs through Catholic Relief Services (CRS). UNICEF has also received USAID/OFDA support to implement water, sanitation, and hygiene programming.

IDP Assistance

-According to the USAID/OFDA team in Sri Lanka, conditions in IDP and transit camps are similar in both Trincomalee and Batticaloa Districts in eastern Sri Lanka, with adequate humanitarian relief supplies primarily available through international agencies.

-The USAID/OFDA team reports that in Trincomalee and Batticaloa districts returnee populations have found homes looted and livelihood implements damaged or stolen. Many returnees in these areas are unable to resume disrupted livelihoods or engage in other viable livelihoods activities due to a lack of assets, as well as restriction on access to the ocean and farm lands.

-In response to the disruption of livelihoods, aid organizations and U.N. agencies are implementing quick-impact livelihoods programs in affected areas. While needs remain, many affected individuals and families have been or will be receiving assistance to resume livelihoods in the coming months.

-With USAID/OFDA funding, ACTED is implementing cash-for-work and capacity-building programs for 12,500 IDPs and nearby community members to maintain and upgrade community infrastructure, particularly water and sanitation facilities. USAID/OFDA is also supporting CRS to provide emergency shelter to 2,775 IDPs through a cash-for-work program.

Humanitarian Coordination and Information Management

-USAID/OFDA is supporting Internews to develop multi-media resources, including radio programming, newspaper inserts, and posters and pamphlets to provide information on topics including aid delivery and services available to displaced persons to at least 300,000 IDPs.

-The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is providing enhanced in-country coordination, information management, and other support services to humanitarian organizations. USAID/OFDA has provided support to OCHA and funded a geographic information systems specialist for USAID/Sri Lanka to assist with humanitarian information management and reporting.

Food Assistance and Logistics

-On September 19, U.S. Ambassador Robert O. Blake officially handed over 6,710 metric tons (MT) of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food assistance, valued at $5 million, to representatives from the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) and the GOSL. The food will be distributed to food insecure populations in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

-USAID/FFP continues to monitor food needs in collaboration with USAID/Sri Lanka and WFP. USAID/FFP has provided more than $14 million to WFP’s Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation to assist IDPs and other vulnerable groups throughout the country. USAID/OFDA has also provided logistics support to WFP.

USAID AND STATE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

-On August 11, 2006, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires James R. Moore declared a disaster due to the increasing conflict and resulting IDPs in Sri Lanka, and requested assistance from USAID/OFDA. On October 6, 2006, U.S. Ambassador Robert O. Blake renewed the disaster declaration and requested additional USAID/OFDA support for FY 2007.

-In FY 2007, USAID/OFDA allocated nearly $7 million to support nutrition, protection, logistics, shelter, coordination and information management activities, and water, sanitation, and hygiene services.

-State/PRM has contributed nearly $5 million in FY 2007 to ICRC and the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Sri Lanka to fund emergency programs. ICRC facilitates the movements of conflict-affected individuals, restores family links, supports water, sanitation, and hygiene activities, and provides medical aid, shelter, and household items. As part of the U.N. Common Humanitarian Action Plan, UNHCR will support the protection of newly displaced persons, camp management, and the provision of shelter and non-food items to IDPs.

Map: USG Humanitarian Assistance to Sri Lanka (as of 30 Sep 2007)

Notes:

(1) This number does not include those displaced by previous conflict or the December 2004 tsunami.
(2) The Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Center
(3) USAID’s Office of Food for Peace
(4) U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration


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