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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Sri Lanka's tsunami survivors suffer from social stigma

Xinhuanet : 21/12/2005"

Social stigma, depression among widowers, increased alcohol use among teenagers are all highlighted in "people's consultations" with Sri Lanka's tsunami survivors, the United Nations Development Program said here Wednesday in a press release.

The consultations were carried out by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, UNDP and the University of Colombo in 1,100 villages in the 13 tsunami-affected districts in the island.

The dialogues highlight that more women than men perished in the disaster, leaving an unprecedented number of widowers suffering from depression and stigma.

Many husbands who lost their wives on Dec. 26 last year find it difficult to look after young children while also being the sole breadwinners for their families.

The research also reveals an increase of alcohol consumption among men and teenage boys, large numbers of absenteeism and a high number of dropouts recorded in schools in affected districts since the tsunami.

Some of the people affected by the tsunami are suffering from social stigma and the relationships among neighbors, relatives and friends have seen drastic changes, said the release.

"The initiative has been invaluable not only in identifying the needs of people affected by the tsunami and in informing them of their rights and duties, it has also provided the space for some of the most vulnerable people in the various communities to participate in the recovery and reconstruction of their own lives and livelihoods," said Sanaka Samarasinha, the deputy country director of UNDP.

The research finds that information sharing between the local communities and those involved in the recovery activities were vital to ensure the success of the rebuilding.

"The government and others involved in relief, rehabilitation and recovery require people's participation in order to make correct judgment about related policies and mechanisms," said Lakshman Dissanayake, director of the Colombo University Extension Center.


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