Crisis in Sri Lanka: Caritas impact so far

Caritas Press Release: Caritas has delivered vital aid for over 70,000 people in Sri Lanka who had fled their homes in the recent fighting.

In early 2009, up to quarter of a million people were trapped between government security forces and the Tamil Tiger rebels. (LTTE).

As fighting intensified and pressure grew for a temporary humanitarian ceasefire, tens of thousands of civilians escaped to government-held areas in April.

Caritas Sri Lanka, the national member, was one of the only two aid agencies working in the combat zone throughout the fighting. Finally, the government announced the victory in combat operations in May.

Caritas launched an appeal in March to supply food, medical help, shelter and education to some of the approximately 285,000 displaced people in transit and welfare camps in Vavuniya, Mannar, Jaffna and Trincomalee.In Mannar, Caritas is providing daily cooked meals to 56,000 people, 12,000 litres of clean water a day for 17,000 people, sanitation in two camps, and kindergarten education for 903 children.

Sri Lanka’s Catholic parishes have provided extra food parcels to 10,000 people in camps in Mannar through Caritas. Caritas has provided food for 12,000 people in Jaffna, especially targeting babies and toddlers, clothes and shoes, and built makeshift kindergartens.

Caritas has worked with 2,100 hospital patients in Anadhurpura, providing hygiene kits, and wheel chairs to 1000 patients in Kurunegala. There’s been provision of prosthetic equipment and mobility devices to 475 patients in the Kurunegala hospital who lost limbs during the fighting.

Caritas has provide other aid items such as cooking equipment and cutlery to 4,500 people. Caritas has trained 30 sisters to provide counselling in the camps. The Catholic Church says that discussions are under way with the authorities to allow the civilians from the South to visit the Marian shrine of Madhu for the Feast of the Assumption on August 15.

For more information, please contact Patrick Nicholson on 0039 334 359 0700 or nicholson@caritas.va

Source: Caritas

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