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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, April 25, 2006

Humanitarian Situation Report - Sri Lanka: 31 Mar - 6 Apr 2006

ReliefWeb - Document Preview: Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Date: 06 Apr 2006.

Overall Situation
The Reconstruction and Development Agency held a donor briefing on March 28 to inform on the need to provide support to families still living in transitional shelters until permanent solutions can be provided.
Hundreds of men, women and their children held a two-hour protest in front of the Trincomalee office of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) on 27 March. Members of four fisheries co-operative societies demanded that they be allowed to fish in the Trincomalee Harbor Sea, or be given relief to enable them to live without the income from fishing. The Sri Lanka Navy has imposed a complete ban on fishing in the Trincomalee Harbor Sea from the beginning of this year. Since then about two hundred fisher families living around the area have lost their daily income and are fighting for their survival.
OCHA Killinochchi reports that all agencies in Killinochchi spend much time in meetings with the LTTE’s Planning and Development Secretariat (PDS) and Government Agent (GA’s) to deal with technicalities, designs and complaints. OCHA Killinochchi has identified a need for a dedicated liaison person, to act on behalf of all of the agencies as a focal point for new directives, to channel complaints, and to answer concerns and be a central focus for information between the authorities and the agencies. The agencies are short staffed and need to concentrate on building, but time is being wasted in bilateral meetings. A focal point for construction could help to formalise and disseminate policy and work on advocacy issues across the board.
UNDP have launched a loan scheme through six participating banks for 50,000 Sri Lankan rupees over a three year repayment period with a six month grace period. A joint awareness campaign with the Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) is ongoing to promote the loans.
IOM’s tsunami-affected people registration process continues on the east coast of Sri Lanka. On April 5, the registration process began in Batticaloa district. To date, information on 13,000 head of families (representing 50,000 people) had been collected in Ampara district. Since the commencement of the registration process in December 2005, some 110,000 heads of families have been registered -- this represents information on close to 450,000 tsunami-affected people.
Sri Lanka celebrated its first International Mine action day on 4 April. Mine related casualties have dropped by 75 per cent since the Cease Fire Agreement was signed.
World Health Day is on 7 April. The theme for this year’s World Health Day is “Working together for health” focusing on the health workers - the people who provide health care to those who need it - the heart of health systems. In Sri Lanka an opening ceremony on the morning of 7 April will be held and co-hosted by the Ministry of Health and will include speeches and seminars on the theme “Working together for health”.
Main challenges and response
The GA Kilinochchi had delivered a message from the Governor of the north and east that from 1 April 2006 volunteers can not be used in hospitals and schools. The head of the rural health institutions explained that many hospitals rely on volunteers to run, and most village dispensaries and rural hospitals may be paralyzed without them. Volunteers usually cover the most rural areas as well as the main health centres.
In Ampara concern has been raised regarding the deterioration of relations with the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources. Repeated requests for critical information on catch capacity, needs and gaps in the district, and policy information have been promised for months and not delivered.
Coordination and common services
The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) under the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment has signed an agreement with ILO to support training programmes for partners of multi-disciplines (surveillance personnel, care-givers, district child protection committee members and partners who support the elimination of child labour). As part of strategic interventions post-tsunami, the NCPA proposes to pilot-test the implementation of Minimum Standards and Guidelines for Care Giving Institutions in the tsunami-affected areas (6 centres have been selected) through a mobile unit comprising trainers from the NCPA. A module on the issue of corporal punishment is presently being developed by the NCPA and will be integrated into the training curriculum as well.
The consultants of National United Nations Volunteers DRMU visited Galle district to hold discussions with actors involved in Disaster Management in order to develop the National Plan for Disaster Preparedness and Response.
Food security
A team of WFP officials engaged in collecting new FFW (Food for Work) project proposals in Hambantota district from government counterparts and partner INGOs, for the year 2006. So far, more than 40 projects have been identified in the district under the FFW program. Training of health staff on the preparation and use of WFP’s supplementary food Corn Soya Blend (CSB) was also conducted in Hambantota.
Health
OCHA Killinochchi reports that there are over 150,000 people in the district and nine health facilities, four medical officers of health areas with a staffing rate of 20 per cent. Kilinochchi needs 52 midwives but have only five. Kandaveli needs 11 public health attendants and have only one midwife. The district hospital in Killinochchi needs to be upgraded to a General Hospital.
OCHA Batticaloa reports that Wat/san actors raised their concern on Predeshiya Saba’s (local government institution) negligence in garbage disposal in the camps in Vaharai Division as it might create a major health hazard. It was decided to contact the Predeshiya Saba to point out their lack of action.
In collaboration with St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, UNDP Strong Places Programme organised a two-day First Aid Training in Matara Division on Tue 28 and 29 March for 64 members representing different community based organisations of the area.
Water and sanitation
The Regional Epidemiologist reported that soakage pits constructed for the permanent houses handed over to the beneficiaries in Kumpurupiddi, Kuchchaveli DS division in Trincomalee district were not appropriately constructed. The Public Health Inspector (PHI) of the area is taking necessary action to rebuild them. As a follow-up action, the Kuchchaveli DS was informed by of this issue and he requested the support of the PHI to inspect the construction before handover.
Permanent Shelter construction is in progress at Pavalkulam, Kuchchaveli DS division in Trincomalee district. The site does not have a water supply at the moment. The National Water Supply and Drainage Board reported that they are looking for feasibility and funding for new water schemes.
A proposal was submitted by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board to USAID. The proposal is to get funding to lay pipeline and provide water for the permanent shelter construction at Perker Road, Kuchchaveli DS division. USAID is in the process of determining the feasibility of funding this proposal.
The Public Health Inspector responsible for Sambaltivu mentioned that the entrance to the toilet and kitchen is very close at permanent houses under construction at Konesapuri, Town and Gravets DS division in Trincomalee district.
The French Red Cross is in the process of assessing the needs of latrines in inland areas in Batticaloa district. Once they complete the survey their plans will be shared with the Wat/san Task Force. French NGO, ACTED had distributed two Del Aqua kits to Batticaloa Deputy Provincial Director of Health and trained 49 Public Health Inspectors on water quality testing.
An assessment of UNICEF WASH supplies in response to the tsunami was conducted in Sri Lanka during 1 - 7 April. The main objective of the evaluation was to assess UNICEF WASH supplies during the three stages of the emergency: initial relief phase; early recovery phase; and the reconstruction phase. The evaluation team visited tsunami-affected districts including Galle and Hambantota where the team met with implementing partners and government officials. Visits to transitional and permanent housing were also made in order to obtain first hand impression of the level and quality of services provided
IOM in Ampara has started Hygiene Promotion workshops in Ampara district. The workshops are an ongoing programme expected to reach over 1,000 families still living in transitional shelters in the district. Almost 100 IOM shelter residents participated in the first two workshops held in Alayadivembu division. IOM continues water and sanitation activities in the districts of Ampara, Matara and Kalutara. To date, IOM has constructed over 300 toilets, and over 30 wells at transitional shelter sites.
On 28 March, 20 families living in tsunami-affected Godagama of Hikkaduwa, received Rainwater Harvesting Systems. The units have been constructed with the participation of beneficiaries and training has been given on the use and maintenance of the system. The funding is part of US$ 1 million that has been granted by USAID and the project is supported by UNICEF.
Non-food items and shelter
In Mullaitivu, Killinochchi district agencies are building 2,983 permanent houses under the co-financing system and the additional GA for Mullaitivu expects another 2,500 permanent houses to be built by agencies. The total need is 5,464 permanent houses. (2124 transitional shelters were built).
In Killinochchi the German Red Cross is to construct 300 houses in Upumaveli and 328 houses in Vannamkulam where construction has begun on 220 houses. Hudec Caritas has started construction work on 83 houses in Muallaitivu while 40 are complete. The Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) is to build 100 houses in Silawathai South in Mullaitivu and has already started construction on 20 houses. Toilets were been built with financial assistance from the Danish Red Cross but has been stopped by the Planning and Development Secretariat (PDS) as they do not conform to new standards (soakage pit and septic tank). In Kallapadu North 100 toilets have been completed by UNICEF and 50 well constructions and 25 houses are complete. In Semmalai East TRO is building a primary health centre and a vocational training centre and a pre-school with a babysitting centre. In Kallapadu South in Mullaitivu the Norwegian NGO FORUT plans to build 111 houses and has started construction on one. INGO Don Bosco is building 69 houses in Mullaitivu town while 16 are complete. In Mathalan and Ammylan Povikali in Mullaitive, CARE has built 120 toilets and 80 wells.
In Killinochchi the NGO Solidar is to construct a total of 1,125 permanent houses. Solidar have the highest construction commitment out of the NGOs in Maranthankerny, working in three major areas and six sites. Solidar hope to hand over the first 20 houses soon, but they are still waiting for decisions on Watsan from the NGO Forut. They hope to finish all construction by the end of the year. World Vision is building 30 houses in Pokkaruppu and 121 in Pothpathy in Killinochchi district.
CARE International will start moving materials and prepare to start construction within the next 3-4 weeks in Palchenai, Puchchakerny and Kathiravelly in Vaharai Division Batticaloa district.
According to the Tsunami Housing Reconstruction Unit a total of 213 permanent houses have been handed over to beneficiaries so far in Matara District.
Education
World Vision is in the process of reconstructing eight preschools and eight schools in Kuchaveli, Town and Gravets, Muthur, and Eachchilampattai in Trincomalee district. The foundations for all eight preschools are complete.
Jointly with the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition, UNICEF Early Childhood Section is organizing a national event on nutrition under the theme ““A helping hand to childhood through better nutrition”. The event will run for the whole month of May in all 25 districts of Sri Lanka. Meanwhile UNICEF provided learning material (exercise books, rulers, pens, pencils, crayons, etc.) for 18’500 tsunami-affected students in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Thunukkai education zones.
Livelihoods
World Vision is implementing a cash-for-work road rehabilitation project in Valaithoddam, Eachchilampattai, Thaqwa Nagar and Muttur in Trincomalee. One hundred and three men and four women are participating in Muttur while 117 men and 135 women are rehabilitating a 2.5 km road stretch in Eachchilampattai.


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