Colombo, May 18, 2009
—As the war in Sri Lanka comes to an end, displacement camps in the north could be overwhelmed by a new surge of internally displaced people unless new funds are found quickly, according to aid agency World Vision.
“At the end of April, there were already ten camps that were housing between two and five times their capacity,” said Suresh Bartlett, World Vision’s national director in Sri Lanka.
"Over the last few days another 50,000 persons have come out. There are now almost 250,000 people in the displacement camps, which are already at breaking point. Among these are an estimated 80,000 children," said Bartlett.
“World Vision has provided more than 3 million liters of water over the past month, but the water table in the area was already low – we are being forced further and further afield to find water,” said Bartlett. “When we get to the camps, the water tanks are emptied faster than we can fill them.”
In addition to providing water, World Vision has provided 57 metric tons of food, 3,000 tarpaulins and more than 85,000 packs of cooked food.
World Vision has also set up three Child-Friendly Spaces and eight temporary learning spaces, providing children with a safe, structured environment to receive informal education, interact with their peers, and regain a sense of normality.
“We have particular concerns for the children emerging from the conflict zone, who are terribly distressed, both physically and emotionally,” said Bartlett.
Bartlett also encouraged the international community to help break the cycle of violence that has gripped the country for so long, by funding both immediate relief efforts and longer term recovery and rehabilitation.
“It is important that donor nations look beyond the financial crisis and the politics of giving or not giving to Sri Lanka. We have already lost the futures of two generations of children to nearly three decades of war. This must not be allowed to continue.”World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world’s poor regardless of a person’s religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press.