Date Published: 12 June 2009
World Vision is gravely concerned that impending monsoon rains and inadequate sanitation will place tens of thousands of people at risk of disease in displacement camps in northern Sri Lanka.
Some 280,000 displaced people are now accommodated in camps in Vavuniya, Mannar and Jaffna districts in northern Sri Lanka and Trincomalee in the East.
The sanitation facilities in the largest camps are acutely inadequate. At least 11,500 more latrines are needed to comply with international minimum standards. With monsoon rains expected to arrive within the next two weeks, at least 2,500 latrines are needed immediately to meet the most basic needs and prevent a potential health crisis.
“We are very worried about the outbreak of diseases. When the rains come in two weeks or so I can’t imagine what conditions will be like due to the lack of any proper drainage and toilet system,” said Suresh Bartlett, World Vision Sri Lanka’s National Director.
Unsafe drinking water and inadequate sanitation facilities give rise to water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, malaria and dengue. Most fatalities are young children.
World Vision is working with other aid agencies to support and care for the displaced persons in the camps, however, urgent funding is required in order for World Vision to continue to assist those in need.
“I urge the international community to give freely. There are so many crises in the world at this time but the needs of those who have survived the conflict are extreme. After surviving such a violent conflict, it will be extremely unfortunate for the children and babies to now succumb to disease,” Mr Bartlett said.
During the last six weeks, World Vision has trucked five million litres of water, distributed 100,000 packs of cooked food and supplied 60 metric tonnes of complementary food to the communal kitchens in the camps.
World Vision is also providing shelter, family packs of essential items and supplementary nutritional food to children under five and nursing mothers.
World Vision continues to advocate for adherence to international minimum standards (SPHERE) in camp management, support and care for the displaced and the speedy return to their own homes or locations of their choice.