The December 2004 tsunami provided unique challenges to the Sri Lankan Government and its people and the international community that has been assisting the country in its relief and recovery efforts. The relief phase, while not flawless, particulary given the extraordinary numbers of actors who responded to the Sri Lankan disaster, achieved most of its humanitarian objectives. Virtually all tsunami survivors have received food, shelter and medical assistance. Schools are back in session and recently the pace in construction of transitional shelters has picked up appreciably. Some of the bottlenecks regarding land allocation are now being resolved and soon the government will table its national reconstruction plan and the recovery phase will begin full force. Even given these achievements pressing relief needs still exist. Some tsunami-survivors remain in tents and are challenged by the monsoon flooding. Many remain unemployed and without immediate income-generating prospects. It is during this transitional period -- as the emergency relief phase winds down and before the reconstruction phase is in full gear - that all of us involved in responding must redouble our efforts to meet both the immediate needs and longer-term concerns of tsunami-affected communities. "Posttsunami Update," the first issue of which you hold in your hands, has been created to share some of the achievements and challenges of UN agencies as they support the Sri Lankan Government and its people in their tsunami relief and recovery efforts.
UN Humanitarian and Resident
Coordinator in Sri Lanka