National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka: Emergency Relief in Vaharai

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National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka: Emergency Relief in Vaharai

August 20, 2006

After we found out the number of people displaced have increased to over 40,000, we increased our capacity to 1000 families in Vaharei for a week. It was later on brought to our attention that there are also some other IDP camps in the surrounding villages in Valachchenai etc and we decided to send 500 packs to Vaharei and the other 500 to Valachenai. After negotiating with the other agencies and WFP & ADT decided to send the full load (1000) packs to Vaharei because the other IDP camps are in government controlled areas and are easily reached, besides the families in Vaharei have not received any supplies for over two weeks. Theses sounded good to WFP and the other agencies for Alliance Development Trust to send all 1000 packs to Vaharei.

A letter granting permission to deliver the food items was obtain from the government agent with the assistance of World Food Program, the trucks along with other supplies were handed over on the 22nd to UNICEF at 0930 hours and some hours later we were informed that the convoy was not allowed access to Vaharei because the army couldn’t allow the convoy to cross over the to LTTE controlled area due to technical errors by the Government officials. All documentations were finalized and on the 25th the supplies were sent to Vaharei. No agencies were allowed in so the supplies were taken in by the GA and handed over to the Divisional Secretariat in vaharei who then distributed the supplies to the IDP camps

Vaharei 2nd June 2006

Alliance Development Trust on the 2nd of June provided food for 250 families living in Kathiravely School. Among them are 218 students, 39 nursing mothers and 2 pregnant women. EHED, who took over from TRO, provided dry ration for ten days for 80 families. Five days after EHED distributed food to the 80 families, new families arrived bringing the total number of families to 190 families. Not all were living in the school. Some families were living with their relatives around the school. And then another 80 families arrived on the 1st of June bringing the total number of displaced families up to 270.

The families that are in the school have arrived from Katauarachan, Sampur, Peruvely, Manalchenai, Pardipuram, and Kalivaty. “It is not safe for us in to live there any more. A 24 year old man was killed by the army and another 28 year old was killed in our village and it might be us next so we have to move away” said one of the mothers.

When asked when they are planning to return they said they do not know. “We do not know when to return. It is not safe there. We will return when things are back to normal and it is safe for us to live there” said a father carrying his baby boy on his shoulder. There are three toilets and one well at the site and that well provides water for the families for bathing and drinking. I asked Mr. Mukthy from TRO if they have any plans of relocating the families somewhere and he said they have plans to do so but still they have not come up with any specific location. I also asked him if they have shelters etc ready for the families to move into. He said they do not have anything ready but would look to various agencies to help relocate the families. But the first challenge is to find suitable land to relocate the families before the school starts.

The above information is what we collected when we visited the camps ourselves and talked to the people. We also talked to TRO who provided the initial relief to the Vaharei camp.