20 August 2009
Torrential rains are threatening thousands of displaced families in camps in northern Sri Lanka. Rain water seeping into temporary shelters and overflowing sewage systems have worsened conditions for the 280,000 displaced persons who already had limited sanitation facilities inside the camps.
One of the Manik Farm campsites in the Vavuniya District, where over 1,000 families were housed in shelters that were made out of wood and plastic sheets, has been the most affected. Some of the families have been able to be moved to a nearby preschool while others have sought emergency shelter in World Vision temporary learning shelters and child friendly spaces.
“The camp sites have become muddy and it is impossible for water bowsers to operate, while some of the communal kitchen centres have also been closed down due to floods,” said Paraman Ramesh, World Vision Humanitarian & Emergency Affairs Coordinator in Sri Lanka.
World Vision responded promptly to the floods by providing tarpaulins to communal areas and light meals to over 5,000 flood affected people who were without food. Despite the challenges posed by torrential rains, World Vision continued to truck water to other camp sites in Manik Farm.
In response to this latest challenge, World Vision has already commenced a hygiene promotion programme for displaced families which includes distribution of 4,000 hygiene packs, containing soap, towels, toothbrushes and other essentials. Activities also include 60 volunteers to promote and monitor health practices. Staff are now planning to distribute cleaning items such as disinfecting liquids to nearly 5,000 families.
World Vision is assisting those in the camps with water, food, shelter, non-food relief items as well as nutrition, education and psychosocial programmes for children.
In the last three months World Vision has trucked more than eight million litres of water to the camps, distributed over 130,000 packets of cooked food and 75 metric tonnes of complementary food to the communal kitchens.