Post-tsunami and conflict relief in Sri Lanka

Premini and her transitional shelter

Premini with her transitional shelter

Title Post-tsunami and conflict relief in Sri Lanka
Description Providing transitional shelters for 25 previously displaced families.
Status Completed
Dates Start: October 2009; End: June 2010
Implementing partner Leads
Location Sri Lanka
Sector Relief

Situation

Sri Lanka saw the end of the 26 year-long conflict between government and rebel LTTE (‘Tamil Tiger’) forces in May 2009. The last battles saw the displacement of some 300,000 people who were housed in cramped IDP camps. In October 2009 the government of Sri Lanka began to release families back to their original homes, once the land had been cleared of mines.

However, work undertaken by UN Habitat to construct new homes following the devastating tsunami in 2004 was never completed due to the escalating conflict, leaving families with no homes to go back to.

Partner

For over 25 years, Leads has responded to disasters in Sri Lanka (from 1978’s devastating cyclone to 2004’s tsunami), focusing primarily on the needs of the poor and most vulnerable.

Originally a development arm of the Evangelical Alliance of Ceylon, Leads is now an autonomous organisation working in 13 regions (Hambantota, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Mannar, Vavuniya, Matara, Amparai, Kandy, Kurunegala, Ratnapura, Badulla, Awissawella and Colombo) in 12 districts of the country.

A registered social service organisation, NGO and charity in Sri Lanka, Leads has acted as an implementing partner for a number of international aid and relief agencies, including BMS World Mission, Canadian International Development Agency, the European Union, Tearfund UK, the DEC and USAid.

Response

Contruction of transitional shelters

Contruction of transitional shelters

As part of the response to provide transitional shelters for returnees until the half-built houses were completed by the UN, Leads was allocated 125 families in the Manalkadu area who had been released from IDP camps in Vavuniya and Jaffna.

In consultation with the government office and beneficiaries, transitional shelters of 12.6 ft by 12 ft were constructed, which could then be converted to outdoor kitchens once the permanent houses were completed. Families contributed in the construction where they were able.

A Cyan International grant of £10,000 contributed to assisting in the building of 25 shelters.

Outcomes

Transitional shelters, made possible by grants from Cyan International and other agencies, have provided much-needed shelter for vulnerable families returning to their villages from cramped IDP camps and many years of displacement.

Sri Lanka project Premini with transitional shelter

Premini with her transitional shelter

The story of one beneficiary, Antoniga Premini, highlights the difference these shelters have made.

Premini and her husband were forced to leave their home in Manalkadu in 1995 as fighting was escalating in the Jaffna district. During this time, Premini lost her husband and, discovering she was pregnant, had to raise her son alone. During the 2002 ceasefire Premini returned home to seek support from her family. However, in 2004 her home was destroyed by tsunami tidal waves, forcing her into the Manthihai refugee camp for five years. In 2009 she were released from the camp, but found there was still no shelter to return to. At this time, Leads constructed a transitional shelter which would house Premini and her son until UN Habitat commenced work on the permanent shelters. Cyclone Laila struck in May 2010, but the shelter constructed by Leads withstood the cyclonic winds.

Cyan International is proud to have been part of a locally-led initiative that has given families much needed shelter, restoring their communities and giving people like Premini a hope for the future.

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