Date published: 25 May 2009
World Vision has joined other aid agencies in Sri Lanka in a call on the Government to lift restrictions on access to the displacement camps in northern Sri Lanka.
In a joint statement, the agencies who are all working in the camps appealed to the authorities to lift recent restrictions on vehicle access to the camps. As a result of the current restrictions, agencies cannot adequately provide urgently needed services including food and water to people who are almost totally reliant on aid. <
"The camps in Sri Lanka are huge. They stretch over 1,000 acres and take nearly an hour to walk across. Without vehicles we can’t do our work properly and that’s putting lives at risk," the statement said.
"Thousands of people are arriving from the war zone in a very weak condition. We’re very worried about their health, with children and the elderly being particularly at risk.
"We’re asking the Sri Lankan government to adhere to the guiding principles agreed by them with the humanitarian community and to let us do our job properly."
Aid agencies are stretched in their efforts to support some 280,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who fled the conflict zone and are accommodated in camps in the districts of Vavuniya, Mannar and Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka and in Trincomalee in the east.
The 26-year-long conflict between the Sri Lanka Government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended on Sunday 17 May, with the capture of the last strip of coastland occupied by the LTTE in north east Sri Lanka.
Even as the war ends, the country now faces the enormous challenge of rebuilding and ensuring the speedy return of the displaced to their places of origin or locations of their choice.
World Vision is working with other aid agencies to support and care for the displaced persons in the camps. World Vision is distributing food, water and family packs of essential items in the camps and is also engaged in supplementary feeding programmes for children under five and nursing mothers.
World Vision continues to advocate for the adherence to international minimum standards in camp management, support and care for the IDPs and a speedy return of IDPs to their own homes or locations of their choice.