Tag Archives: Sri Lanka

Thousands of lives are at risk in southern Sri Lanka

Thousands of lives are at risk in Sri Lanka because aid to Internally displaced People is being restricted by difficulties in securing access for staff and vehicles international agencies said today.

As a result of the restrictions, agencies cannot adequately provide urgently needed services including food and water to people who are almost totally reliant on aid.

Heads of agencies stated, “The camps in Sri Lanka are huge. They stretch over 1,000 acres and take nearly an hour to walk across. Without vehicles we can’t do our work properly and that’s putting lives at risk.

“Thousands of people are arriving from the war zone in a very weak condition. We’re very worried about their health, with small children and the elderly being particularly at risk. Keeping aid agencies out will only make their condition more critical.

“We’re asking the Sri Lankan government to adhere to the guiding principles agreed, by them with the humanitarian community and to let us do our job properly.”

As UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon prepares to visit the camps, the agencies called on the Sri Lankan government to allow better access to the camps and to drop the restrictions, which have been in place since the weekend.

The camps in the north of the country are still expanding with traumatised people pouring in from the conflict zone. They already hold 270,000 people. The military have told aid agencies to expect up to another 50,000 Internally Displaced People in the next few days. The new arrivals are the people who were held in the conflict zone by the Tamil Tiger rebels until their defeat on Sunday.

Circulated on behalf of

Oxfam, ASB/Solidar, ACTED, Danish Refugee Council, ZOA Refugee Care, Forut, UMCOR, Relief International, Handicap International, Save the Children, Welthungerhilfe, CARE, World Vision, Medical Teams International

Leave a comment

Filed under Bencana Manusia, Human Rights, Humanitarian, IDP

Muslim Aid Appeal for Sri Lanka

8th May 2009

Rehabilitate gaza

Sri Lanka 200,000 Emergency Appeal

Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullah

Since February 2008, fighting between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers) and the Sri Lankan government has reached a climax leaving 200,000 people stranded in refugee camps as they attempt to flee the fighting. It is believed that some 50,000 people are still caught up in the war zone.

The 26-year old insurgency which has killed over 70,000 people and injured thousands more, has uprooted communities from their homes and forced them to take refuge in the more densely populated areas of Vavunia, Jaffna and Trincomalee that are unable to cope with the huge influx of internally displaced people (IDPs).

In Vavunia, 53,000 people have arrived since Sunday May 3rd 2009; the overwhelming numbers of injured and malnourished are putting pressure on hospitals and medical facilities due to poor infrastructure and inadequate resources.

In the camps, thousands are without access to clean water and adequate sanitation facilities increasing the threat of illness from waterborne diseases. Children, who make up about 30% of the displaced population, are especially at risk from chicken pox, ring worms and diarrhea due to dehydration and contaminated water supplies.

Muslim Aid’s response:
Muslim Aid has allocated £55,000 to provide emergency relief to the people of Sri Lanka. Since February this year the Muslim Aid Sri Lanka Field Office has provided:

  • 100 hospital beds to facilitate the rehabilitation of the injured in overwhelmed hospitals.
  • A mobile field hospital in Vavunia refugee camp providing medical treatment to 2,000 patients a day.
  • With our partners Kuwait Hospital and Al Shabab, we are supporting the provision of ambulances and medical supplies.
  • Muslim Aid will provide clean drinking water using our trekker water purification equipment, water purification tablets and water bowsers that are currently waiting to enter the region. Each water purification system can supply 144,000 litres of water per day.

Please help us to give more to those with nowhere to turn.

Donate Now. They need your support.

News Alert from Pakistan Field Office
About 40,000 people have been displaced from Swat and nearby areas since fighting flared in Northern Pakistan last month. The government is preparing for up to 500,000 internal refugees, the largest displacement crisis in Pakistan’s history. As the situation in Pakistan is rapidly deteriorating, Muslim Aid Pakistan is on alert and ready for response. Please look on our website for further updates as we monitor the situation.

Wasalaam

Click here to donate

Visit our website

How can you help

Donate now

Visit www.muslimaid. org for more information
© Muslim Aid 2008 / PO Box 3, London E1 1WP
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7377 4200
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7377 4201

Charity Reg No 295224

To send this mail to a friend click here
To unsubscribe click here

Leave a comment

Filed under Bencana Manusia

Sri Lanka – 200,000 Internally Displaced, 50,000 caught up in war zone.

07 May 2009

Small Island, Big Humanitarian Crisis
 
“This is a humanitarian crisis of huge proportion. Over the last week, at least 20 people have died due to starvation and lack of medication. What’s making matters worse is that there are no morgue or transport facilities- dead bodies are just lying under trees. There’s also a lack of water, as Vavunia – a naturally water-scarce area – is facing growing shortages as a result of the surrounding jungle being cut down to house displaced people.” reports  Amjad Mohamed-Saleem, Country Director for Muslim Aid Sri Lanka Field Office.

Since February 2008, fighting between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LLTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers)  and the Sri Lankan government has reached a climax leaving 200,000 people stranded in refugee camps as they attempt to flee the fighting. It is believed that some 50,000 people are still caught up in the war zone.

The 26-year old insurgency which has killed over 70,000 people and injured thousands more, has uprooted communities from their homes and forced them to take refuge in the more densely populated areas of Vavunia, Jaffna and Trincomalee, that are unable to cope with the huge influx of internally displaced people (IDPs).

In Vavunia, 53,000 people have arrived since Sunday May 03 2009; the overwhelming numbers of injured and malnourished are putting pressure on hospitals and medical facilities due to poor infrastructure and inadequate resources. 

In the camps, thousands are without access to clean water and adequate sanitation facilities increasing the threat of illness from waterborne diseases.  Children, who make up about 30% of the displaced population, are especially at risk from chicken pox, ring worms and diarrhea due to dehydration and contaminated water supplies.
Muslim Aid has allocated £55,000 to provide emergency relief to the people of Sri Lanka. Since February this year, with the help of local partners, Muslim Aid Sri Lanka Field Office has provided 100 hospital beds to overcrowded hospitals as well as ambulances and basic medical supplies. The organisation has also provided an inflatable mobile field hospital in Vavunia refugee camp and is currently waiting for water purification equipment and water purification tablets to enter the region.  Each water purification system can supply 144,000 litres of water per day and each tablet can purify up to a litre of water.
With the situation likely to deteriorate and thousands more people expected to arrive in refugee camps in the next month , Muslim Aid is also calling upon  local partners and international NGOs to collaborate and share expertise to ensure that the work on the ground is as effective as possible.

“The situation is very desperate and the logistics of an operation like this can be very challenging. What is needed is for all agencies to work together to ensure that aid goes to the beneficiary as efficiently and effectively as possible. The need of the hour is partnership” said Amjad Saleem.

Notes for Editors:

• Amjad Saleem is the country director for Muslim Aid Sri Lanka. He was posted to Sri Lanka to work on reconstruction after the Indian Ocean tsunami and is now Country Director. He also oversees Muslim Aid’s Bangladesh operation and coordinates its international disaster response unit; Amjad was a key player in Muslim Aids work post cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. Amjad is  available to talk on the current crisis in Sri Lanka and can be contacted on +94773138281 or at amjad@muslimaid.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
• Muslim Aid is a UK based relief and development agency established in 1985 and working in over 70 countries with field offices in Bangladesh, Bosnia, Cambodia, Gambia, Indonesia, India,  Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.  We work with all in need, regardless of their race, religion, gender, nationality or political opinion and specialise in providing: emergency relief including food, shelter and medical support;  capacity building through water, sanitation and health programmes; education and skills training; micro-financing and income generation in addition to providing specialist programmes such as orphan care. As well as supplying practical help, Muslim Aid assists communities in examining the causes of poverty and underdevelopment, and in advocating for a more just society and a sustainable future.   Registered Charity No. 29522

• For more press information please contact Maryam Mohsin, Communications Officer, on 02073774200 or Maryam@muslimaid.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Leave a comment

Filed under Humanitarian, IDP

Sri Lankan rebels announce unilateral ceasefire, gov’t rejects

COLOMBO, April 26 (Xinhua) — Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels said on Sunday that it has announced a unilateral ceasefire in the face of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and in response to the calls made by the international community, but the offer has been rejected by the government.

“In the face of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and in response to the calls made by the UN, EU, the governments of the United States, India and others, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has announced a unilateral ceasefire,” the peace secretariat of the LTTE said in a statement.

Tamil civilians flee to government controlled areas from Tamil Tiger rebels' last territory in Puthukkudiyiruppu, northern Sri Lanka, April 24, 2009. (Xinhua/Chen Zhanjie)

Tamil civilians flee to government controlled areas from Tamil Tiger rebels’ last territory in Puthukkudiyiruppu, northern Sri Lanka, April 24, 2009. (Xinhua/Chen Zhanjie)

    “All of LTTE’s offensive military operations will cease with immediate effect,” the statement added.

However, the Sri Lankan government has rejected the ceasefire offer, insisting that the LTTE must lay down arms and surrender.

Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse, the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapakse, was quoted by the media assaying that the offer “is a joke” as the LTTE “were not fighting with us, they were running from us.”

He said there is no need of a ceasefire and the LTTE must surrender.

Lakshman Hulugalle, director general of the government’s Media Center for National Security told Xinhua by telephone that the LTTE “have to lay down arms and surrender. We will definitely carry on with our humanitarian operation.”

Hulugalle said actually there is no formal response from the government because there is no way for the LTTE to officially inform the government about their decision.

The LTTE said in the statement that over 165,000 people living within the coastal area still under the LTTE control in the northern Mullaittivu district are subject to continuous attacks by Sri Lankan Navy, Air Force and Infantry.

“Those who were moved out of the war zone have been detained and are held in concentration camps where they are subjected to torture in violation of all international conventions. These IDP (Internal Displaced Person) population are not permitted to return to their homes. Instead, some are being used as human shields by the Sri Lankan forces,” said the LTTE statement.

The LTTE said it welcomed the attempts by the UN and its agencies to assist the civilian population and are ready to engage and cooperate with them to address the humanitarian needs of the population.

A photograph of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa hangs above defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella (C), who is flanked by military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara (L) and Media Centre for National Security Director General Lakshman Hulugalle, as he speaks during a news conference at the media centre for national security in central Colombo April 22, 2009.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

“We are in full agreement that the humanitarian crisis can only be overcome by the declaration of an immediate ceasefire. As the first step we have now announced this unilateral ceasefire and call upon the international community to pressure the Sri Lankan Government to reciprocate it,” the statement added.

 The LTTE’s announcement came as the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes is making a three-day visit to Sri Lanka assessing the government’s humanitarian effort.

Some 50,000 civilians are still believed to be trapped in the conflict between the government troops and the LTTE in the remaining 10-sq-km area safety zone in Puttumatalan, a small town around 400 km northeast of the capital Colombo.

The military said they have secured some 110,000 civilians trapped in the safety zone since Monday when the troops broke the defense lines of the LTTE and entered the area.

This has put pressure on the government’s relief mechanism amid reports of large civilian casualties in the process.

The government said it is on the verge of totally crushing the LTTE as almost all of the 15,000-sq-km territory held by the LTTE has been captured by the government in a military offensive launched in 2006.

Claiming discrimination at the hands of the majority Sinhalese-dominated governments, the LTTE began to fight for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east since the mid-1980s, resulting in the killing of more than 70,000 people.

source:  http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/26/content_11261197.htm

Leave a comment

Filed under Bencana Manusia, Humanitarian, Refugee

Sri Lanka: Risks to civilians still “extremely high” – top UN official

BANGKOK, 24 April 2009 (IRIN) – UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes told IRIN there were still tens of thousands trapped in a pocket of fighting in northeastern Sri Lanka: “There may be as many as 50,000 or possibly even more people still left there,” adding that heavy weapons were still being used by both sides.

“The risks to these people are extremely high. That is our main concern.”

To address that, efforts are now under way to dispatch a humanitarian team to the combat area to assess the situation and enable more aid to get in.

“We have an agreement in principle with the government of Sri Lanka, but it hasn’t happened yet,” Holmes said. “The conditions need to be created to make that possible,” he said.

Since 20 April, about 140,000 Tamil civilians have fled combat areas in the north, government sources say, leaving international and Sri Lankan relief agencies in government-controlled areas struggling to cope.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 80,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were already being accommodated in various sites, primarily schools, in and around Vavuniya, Mannar and Jaffna districts.

Meanwhile, fighting was being reported in the village of Valayanmadam in Mullaitivu District, with civilians being moved to the south of the conflict zone,” OCHA said.

Appeal shortfall

As aid workers grapple with the growing number of displaced, OCHA reports that aid agencies have received less than one third of the US$155 million appealed for in February to meet an anticipated increase in the number of people fleeing the conflict.

Although food is relatively well-funded, other sectors such as health, water and sanitation, shelter and education are significantly under-funded.

“I think that donors will respond now,” Holmes said, noting, however, that funding was also connected to conditions inside the camps or sites where those who have fled are now staying.

“We have to be sure that the camps and the conditions in which people are being held over time correspond properly to international standards and principles in order for the funding for us to be there,” he said.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said on 24 April that the government was expecting another 15,000-20,000 civilians still in the conflict area to come out.

ds/cb/bp

Leave a comment

Filed under Bencana Manusia

MERCY Malaysia launched Sri Lanka Relief Fund

Saturday, 25 April 2009 MERCY Malaysia launches Sri Lanka Relief Fund for humanitarian aid MERCY Malaysia launched the Sri Lanka Relief Fund to assist thousands of survivors of the civil war that has plagued the country for over 20 years.

We are concerned as reports from humanitarian agencies as well as other international observers say there is a large number of injured and sick among the survivors.

We welcome contributions to the Sri Lanka Relief Fund, which will be used to channel much needed medical aid to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Menik Farm, a government-designated safe zone.

We are in the process of equipping four 40-foot containers that will be turned into health centres. The health centres will provide medical assistance to a population of 40,000 IDPs in the Cheddikulam district of Sri Lanka. Each centre will be equipped with an outpatient room, a pharmacy, a medical screening counter and transit beds.

We hope to handover the four fully-equipped containers to the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health on May 2, 2009. To do this work in Sri Lanka and to continue long-term programmes among IDP communities in Cheddikulam will depend on the generosity of donors.

Please donate to the Sri Lanka Relief Fund.

Contact the Communications and Fundraising Department at 03-2273 3999 or email us at info@mercy.org.my

This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it to see how you can help us save lives.

For donations, please refer to the following account details listed below:

SRI LANKA RELIEF FUND Cheque payable to MERCY MALAYSIA CIMB Account No : 1424-000-6561053 OR Cheque payable to MERCY HUMANITARIAN FUND MAYBANK Account No : 5621 7950 4126

You can also download our donation form. Download Donation Form Visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for questions relating to the Sri Lanka Relief Fund.

*IMPORTANT NOTICE Illegal Solicitation of Funds Any party wishing to solicit funds on behalf of MERCY Malaysia must obtain prior written approval from the organisation. Those who misuse the organisation’s name will be reported to the authorities. Contact the Communications & Fundraising Department at 03-2273 3999 or info@mercy.org.my

This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bencana Manusia, Humanitarian, Kempen-kempen, Refugee

Conflict risk alert: Sri Lanka

The humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka’s northern Wanni region is rapidly becoming a catastrophe. An estimated 150,000 civilians are trapped in an ever shrinking space, forcibly held back by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and exposed to indiscriminate attacks by the Sri Lankan military. Thousands have already been killed and many more wounded, and tens of thousands are facing death or injury due to fighting and lack of food, water and medicine. International leaders — in particular, the UN Secretary-General, the Prime Minister of India and the President of the United States — must act now.

International leaders with influence on the Sri Lankan government must insist that it abandon its policy of annihilation and hold off on the final assault to allow relief to reach the civilian populations and to make it possible for those civilians who wish to leave to do so. Those with influence on the LTTE leadership should insist that they allow civilians to leave areas under its control, cease using civilians as a shield and negotiate an effective surrender, with personal security of LTTE leaders and fighters guaranteed by the international community.

The Sri Lankan government can no longer use the Tigers’ refusal to surrender as an excuse to continue its offensive, nor can the Tigers continue to hold civilians hostage until the government has agreed to its demand for a ceasefire leading to political negotiations.

Situation on the Ground

Independent estimates from sources on the ground and satellite imagery suggest at least 150,000 people are trapped by the LTTE and the Sri Lankan military, more than the level claimed by the Sri Lankan government. Most have little access to fresh water, food, or medicine. While they are mostly in or near the government-declared “no fire zone” along the coast, the government itself has shelled that zone daily. LTTE refusal to allow civilians to leave makes them complicit in keeping civilians at grave risk.

The medical system in Wanni has collapsed, and sanitation systems are non-existent, with communicable diseases spreading among the displaced. Doctors have reported cases of death by starvation, a claim the government strongly contests. A shipment of 500 metric tonnes of food on 8 March was the first major humanitarian aid since the end of January.

UN agencies have documented more than 2300 civilian deaths and at least 6500 injuries since late January. More than 500 children have been killed and over 1400 injured. More than 100 victims are arriving each day in the make-shift medical centres still functioning in Wanni, many of whom die before evacuation. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been able to evacuate some 2000 injured and sick persons over the past few weeks, but few supplies have been able to get in.

Serious violations of international humanitarian law by both sides are at the heart of the crisis. The LTTE has prevented civilians from fleeing areas under their control, although around 35,000 people have managed to escape. It has fired on civilians as they flee, killing many over the past weeks. The Tigers continue to forcibly conscript civilians, including children, into battle and they continue to operate and fire from among civilians forced to act as their shield.

For its part, the government has continued shelling of civilian areas — including its own unilaterally declared “no fire zone” — without any significant pause over the past two months. The military wants to squeeze the Tigers into an ever smaller space until they are eliminated or surrender unconditionally, regardless of the cost to civilians. The Sri Lankan military’s actions cannot continue without inflicting massive civilian casualties and committing grave violations of the laws of armed conflict.

The government’s proposed “safe routes” — which can be opened only by the Sri Lankan military first fighting their way through LTTE positions in densely populated areas — are no substitute for an immediate pause in the fighting and the reopening of access routes for food, water and medical supplies.

Humanitarian space for civilians has practically vanished. Unable to fire their weapons in a manner that respects the distinction between combatant and non-combatant, most government attacks at this point are by their very nature indiscriminate.

What Should Be Done

The following actions by the Sri Lankan government and LTTE leadership should be taken immediately and without preconditions.

The Sri Lankan military has already achieved its military objectives and essentially won the war. It must not pursue a strategy of annihilation. The Sri Lankan government must hold off on the final assault to allow adequate supplies of food, water and medical aid to reach the civilian population and to let those civilians who wish to leave do so. An evacuation of civilians by sea with international assistance offers one possible escape route, and discussions under way to make this happen should be expedited. International leaders must make clear the unacceptable nature of continued military attacks which risk the death of even more thousands of civilians.

The LTTE must allow civilians to leave areas under its control. It has been defeated and must surrender. Its current actions demonstrate its utter disregard for the Tamil people it claims to want to liberate. The international community should send its strongest possible messages to the LTTE that it must negotiate a surrender. In exchange, key international parties should commit to supervise the surrender and to guarantee the physical protection of any surrendered fighters, with the ICRC present at the initial points of reception for those leaving areas of fighting. On the other hand, if the LTTE continues to use civilians as a human shield and forcibly recruit children and adults, its leadership should face internation al justice for its serious war crimes.

International leaders, in particular the UN Secretary-General, the Prime Minister of India and the President of the United States, must press for these actions immediately.

The United Nations Secretary General should publicly describe the extent of civilian suffering, including the UN’s own figures for casualties, and thus open the way for a more forceful international response. He should also insist that the Government of Sri Lanka allow immediate access to the “no fire zones” for UN staff, in order to conduct a proper assessment of needs. The Secretary General should immediately appoint a Special Representative to work with the Sri Lanka government and all relevant parties to see that all necessary steps are taken to end the humanitarian crisis and to bring a lasting settlement to the fighting.

These core recommendations will be difficult to put into practice. The Tiger leadership, which has become as much a cult as a rational guerrilla force, will be highly averse to surrender. The government, for its part, is understandably desperate to put an end to the LTTE once and for all and will resist vehemently any limitations on the use of military force.

Still, clear international calls on the Tigers to surrender — and on the Tamil diaspora and leaders in Tamil Nadu to cease their support for the LTTE — can help mitigate some of the Sri Lankan government’s suspicion about international motives. The promise of international supervision of an LTTE surrender may begin to weaken the Tigers’ hold on their forces — and therefore also on the civilian population. And important foreign governments, particularly India and the US, should provide security guarantees to the Sri Lankan government, perhaps in the form of increased naval surveillance of the coasts to prevent Tigers from escaping by sea.

The Sri Lankan government has a right under international law to respond to terrorist attacks and protect its territorial integrity. But destroying the Tigers at the cost of thousands of civilian lives is a prescription for deeper alienation of Tamils in Sri Lanka, radicalisation of Tamils around the world, and years of continued bloodshed. The international community has a responsibility to do all it can to preserve whatever chances there are for political dialogue leading to a lasting resolution of Sri Lanka’s conflict and for eventual reconciliation between communities.

Contacts:

Andrew Stroehlein (Brussels) +32 (0) 2 541 1635
Kimberly Abbott (Washington) +1 202 785 1601

Leave a comment

Filed under Bencana Manusia