World Vision Struggling to Deliver Aid
Federal Way, Washington, March 21, 200
to Displaced as Sri Lanka Crisis Intensifies
155,000 civilians displaced in volatile East, many from areas
devastated by 2004 tsunami
7—As fighting in eastern Sri Lanka continues to force thousands from their homes, World Vision is delivering critical relief assistance to displaced children and families. Safe access to volatile areas remains a key challenge. The recent escalation in hostilities has created a humanitarian crisis in eastern Sri Lanka, with more than 155,000 homeless and living in displacement camps.
“We’re concerned that this crisis could worsen in the coming weeks,” said Rein Paulsen, World Vision’s Senior Director for Emergency Response. “Many communities in the conflict zone are still recovering from the 2004 Asia tsunami, when families lost everything. Now they’ve been uprooted from their homes again, and have no way to feed or educate their children.”
As fighting has intensified in the past week, World Vision has been distributing water, food, mats, tarps for shelter, water containers and other essential supplies to families living in displacement (IDP) camps in the East. The protection and well-being of children in the camps is a key focus of the agency’s work.
Nishadini, 10, has already escaped from fighting three times in recent months: “We walked for five days without food and rested very little. When we found a little water, we drank,” she says of her family’s most recent ordeal. “We all lay down the moment we heard a plane. When we got of so many people lay dead. We would just leave them there and keep going,” she shakes her head. Nishadini and her family of seven now live in Iyankerni IDP camp in Batticaloa.
Over the past several months, World Vision has distributed aid to families trapped in the conflict areas in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, including two resettlement areas, seven communities where the agency already works, and in IDP camps.
Sri Lanka’s two-decade-old ethnic conflict has claimed hundreds of civilian lives. Despite a ceasefire signed in 2002
—which has now expired
—violence has continued to plague civilian communities, closing schools for months at a time and forcing families to move frequently in search of safety.
World Vision has been working in Sri Lanka since 1977. Current programs in community development, emergency relief and tsunami recovery span 22 of the country’s districts.
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World Vision staff are available for interviews. Please contact Rachel Wolff at 253.815.2072 (office), 253.394.2214 (cell) or email@example.com.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press.