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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. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hanitarian Situation Report : 06 - 12 Jan 2006

ReliefWeb - Document Preview : Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) ,Date: 12 Jan 2006

Overall Situation
In Galle district the transitional shelter local government authorities (Municipal Council and Pradeshiya Saba) with the directive of the District Secretary, and the Care and Maintenance working group are working to play a more active role in the management of solid waste and sewage. Affected beneficiaries in transitional shelter sites as well as unaffected people in the district are experiencing discomfort due to unsatisfactory management of waste. Also the need for the active involvement of the local government authorities is seen for the decommissioning of transitional shelters in future.
In Galle heavy afternoon and evening showers in the district have caused minor, ‘regular’ flooding but the situation is not alarming.
In Ampara there were unusually low levels of rainfall during the months of November and December. However, January saw daily rains both during day and nighttime, which has caused the causeway to Thirukkovil Division to be flooded. IOM reported on 12 January that one of their sites in Alaydiwembu Division in Ampara district is experiencing high water levels.
The past week in Ampara has been calm, with no enforcement of restricted movement due to security reasons. No hartals (work stoppage) have been reported for the reporting period, the last one was reported on 5 January. The situation is not characterized by frequent security incidents, as in other districts such as Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Jaffna. During the night between 10-11 January, heavy winds caused damage to houses in the Sammanthurai and Eragama Divisions in Ampara district.
Trincomalee was characterized by a hartal (work stoppage) and a tense situation prevailed in the area. Normal life and business in the town is paralyzed with all shops, government offices, schools, non governmental organizations, financial institutions closed down. The ban on fishing ordered by the Sri Lankan navy in the sea area from Koneswarm to the harbor continues with some 1500 fishers directly affected as reported to OCHA by FAO.
Main challenges and response
The Coastal Conservation Department in a letter to the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) states a further relaxation of the buffer zone for the Galle district. The set back is from 60-35m for Galle district. This has caused much confusion among government authorities and NGOs. Also there are rising concerns over how this would affect the housing policy imposed by the government earlier. A policy circular is awaited from Colombo.
A situation with 46 cases of Hepatitis A in Sammanthurai Division Ampara was reported on 12 January by MERLIN to OCHA and other relevant actors. The affected villages are Sennel 1, Malayadi and Vilinayadi. A health education and vaccine campaign will be launched at the end of the week by the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Sammanthurai with MERLIN support. Discussions with the MOH have confirmed that in the areas where the cases have been reported, there are chronic water supply problems, interruptions in the piped water supply, open wells and an inadequate number of wells. MERLIN made an appeal to WATSAN actors for quick response to the emergency needs. Around 1,700 individuals were vaccinated for Hepatitis A in the area on 12 January.
OCHA Ampara further reports that the last District Education Coordination Meeting on 19 December was attended by only one actor and highlights the need to enhance coordination within the sector.
Coordination and common services
Distribution of boats without the coordination of the Ministry of Fisheries or FAO, for fishers, is still on-going in the Galle district. A local bank recently distributed 25 horsepower FRP boats (one package worth Rs 450,000) to fishermen, without consulting the Ministry or FAO for a beneficiary list.
According to Water Board statistics, the permanent housing site in Galagodawatte, Hikkaduwa could be provided with a permanent water connection in another 2 to 3 years time.
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) will conduct a Site Management learning workshop in Batticaloa for Transitional Accomodation Project (TAP) appointed Site Officers on the 25-26th January. On 8-9 February there will be workshops for Site Officers simultaneously in Ampara and Galle.
The OCHA Batticaloa field office is in the process of assisting in identifying funding for the construction of permanent houses for 22 families residing in the Paddy Marketing Board Building.
In Batticaloa the data for the TSST project has been entered. HIC in collaboration with TAP will collect GPS location and photos of the sites.
The government’s Disaster Management Center is carrying out disaster awareness programs at community level throughout Galle district.
Food security
WFP wound up its Emergency Operation 31 December and its activities were integrated into the Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO). The PRRO will support the rehabilitation and recovery process in conflict areas and meet ongoing needs of tsunami victims who have not yet recovered their livelihood.
The third cash distribution of WFP’s Cash Transfer Pilot Project through Samurdhi bank societies to beneficiaries was carried out during the last week of December in the Galle, Hambantota and Batticaloa districts and two more cash distributions are due end January.
The third round of a nutrition survey in tsunami-affected districts is underway and conducted by the Medical Research Institute (MRI) with financial and technical support from UNICEF
and WFP. The objective is to monitor the changes in the nutrition situation of tsunami-affected children and women and the survey will further assess the impact of interventions in tsunami-affected communities.
UNICEF provided support to rehabilitate the tsunami-damaged salt fields of the Hambantota salt iodisation factory, which produces iodised salt to protect the population against iodine deficiency disorders.
Merlin held a Health Fair on 7 January in Kallady Batticaloa focusing on hygiene promotion and good and healthy domestic practices which was attended by more than 300 people, mainly children and teenagers.
WHO provided technical and financial support to conduct a training Workshop for Entomological Assistants on "Dengue vector surveillance "for Dengue Control during the last two weeks of December 2005. The training workshop was held in Colombo with participants from Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Tangalle, Hambantota, Kandy, Kurunegala, Rathnapura.
Water and sanitation
Recently the water supply to the transitional shelter site in Alokapura in the Hambantota AGA Division was disconnected due to non-payment of bills. However the Transitional Accommodation Project (TAP) and the Municipality attended to the matter and rectified the situation.
Information collected by Project Galle 2005 on water tanks and transitional shelters in the Habaraduwa division in Galle has been mapped by HIC and the maps were distributed among the participants of the WatSan group recently. The maps indicate the locations of transitional shelter cluster settlement sites, sites with 2-9 shelter units, individual shelters and water tanks, and help to differentiate shelters sites and units that have good and poor access to water tanks.
WFP and UNICEF are working collectively to ensure watsan facilities for their school kitchens programme. Currently UNICEF is looking into 20 schools and WFP is building 100 kitchens.
Non-food items and shelter
In regards to the progress of payments for fully damaged houses in the Galle district, out of 2,302 approved cases 2,302 have received the first installment while 876 have received the second installment, 251 the third installment and 75 fully have received the fourth installment.
In regards to the progress of payments for partly damaged houses in the Galle district out of 5,952 cases approved 5,952 have received the first installment and 2,446 have received the second installment.
On care and maintenance of transitional shelter sites the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) recruited ten trainees for Site Management Training in the Galle district and they received a training in Trincomalee at an ongoing workshop.
The Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) together with the Community Tsunami Early Warning Center (CTEC) held a fire preparedness program for transitional shelter sites in Walawwatte, Dadella and Balapitiya in the Galle district on 6 January.
SED Galle/Caritas International received the beneficiary list they have been waiting for since October from the Divisional Secretary for their housing constructions for 7 beneficiaries in Gaminiwatte and 126 beneficiaries in Walawwatte of Galle Four Gravets division.
OCHA Batticaloa reports that 98 per cent of transitional shelters are complete in the Batticaloa District and has identified upgrading and care and maintenance of shelters as the main priority. In this regard 38 newly appointed Care and Maintenance Officers have received orientation training by NRC, financed by IOM.
The Tsunami Education Rehabilitation Monitor (TERM) circulated a list of tsunami-affected schools in the Galle district that need minor repairs, which have not been assisted so far. Most of the eight schools, three in Ambalangoda and five in Galle were used as Transit/Welfare Centres for IDPs during the emergency phase, and hence need repairs for it to be suitable for classroom/ teaching activities.
ILO’s International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), funded by the United States Department of Labour (USDOL) has commenced constructing a community center for children in Kinniya and more than 500 children in Kinniya continue to receive remedial education under this project. ILOIPEC in collaboration with National Workers Congress funded by USDOL continues to provide remedial education to 60 children in the Galle District.
FAO and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (MFAR) distributed 3,571 nets and 15 outboard engines to 290 beneficiaries in Kalmunai recently. The distribution was funded by the governments of Japan, Belgium and the Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission.
On the 8th and the 10th of January Divisional Livelihood Planning workshops were conducted by the RADA Livelihood Unit, in partnership with the ILO Income Recovery Technical Assistance Programme (IRTAP) and the UNDP Capacity Development for Economic Recovery Project (CADREP) Project, for District Secretaries and Divisional Secretaries. During these workshops participants expressed the need for joint planning and consensus, community involvement and clear implementation guidelines. As a conclusion of the workshops all Districts and Divisions agreed on a 3 month action plan to develop Divisional Livelihood Plans for the 35 tsunami-affected DS Divisions in the six Districts of Jaffna, Killinochi, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Hambantota and Galle.
Agricultural training programs are on going in Galle district. So far 13 training courses have been completed, 11 in paddy cultivation and two courses in home gardening
The Spanish Red Cross in collaboration with the Department of Export Agriculture plans to restore the livelihood of tsunami-affected cinnamon cultivators in Galle. So far 387 cinnamon cultivators have been identified as beneficiaries and land is being cleared for cultivation for 347 beneficiaries in Galle.
IFRC under its Vocational training held a training program for carpentry on 5 January in Talbot Town, Galle. Furthermore IFRC in collaboration with the Vocational Training Authority (VTA) distributed tool kits, each kit worth of over Rs 15,000 to 72 tsunami-affected beneficiaries on 9 January at the end of a comprehensive training by VTA in tiling, wall painting and aluminum fabrication.
The Australian Red Cross plans to help communities in Killinochchi develop their own brick making businesses and have requested assistance to identify agencies capable of giving business training.

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