Sri Lanka: More than a new home
Completed project helps families start a new life after displacement
More than 200 previously displaced Sri Lankan families can now start over with new homes and an improved income, thanks to a completed project by Malteser International in northern Sri Lanka. Together with Caritas Germany and its local partners, Sarvodaya and HUDEC (Human Development Centre), Malteser International conducted a project for displaced families who returned to their villages from September 2010 until April 2012, with measures in the areas of reconstruction, health, water supply and sanitation.
Since fall of 2010, Malteser International and Sarvodaya built a total of 205 households with latrines in the districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, a region which was severely affected by the decades-long conflict between the Sri Lankan army and the separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealan (LTTE). The organisations also rebuilt, equipped and trained the health staff of three of the region’s health care centres. 170 renovated wells provide the families in the region with a sustainable water supply. Through awareness campaigns, they taught the population how to handle food and water responsibly, and how to avoid diseases with hygienic practices. 203 families were trained in animal farming and improved agricultural methods; they received livestock and birds as well as pumps to water their fields and other professional equipment, such as sewing machines and fishing tools.
The relief measures were made possible by the financial support of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Caritas International and private donations.
The northern Sri Lankan region known as Vanni is mostly inhabited by Tamils and its economy is, in comparison to other Sri Lankan provinces, severely underdeveloped. Almost 30 years of conflict and the 2004 tsunami worsened this situation even further. Both poverty and violence forced hundreds of thousands of people to search for shelter in other parts of the country.
In fall 2009, after the military operations were over, the Sri Lankan government initiated a resettlement process. When the families arrived in their home villages, all they found were the remnants of their former homes. Malnutrition as well as the lack of access to safe drinking water still were the main problems facing the population of the Vanni region. Sanitation facilities were either non-existent or inadequate. Many schools, hospitals, and health centres were in desolate conditions.
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