UMCOR Provides Relief for Displaced People in Sri Lanka
May 29, 2009—The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is providing direct assistance to people displaced by the recent weeks of fighting in Sri Lanka. The country’s recent civil conflict has displaced nearly 300,000 people since the beginning of 2009—most of them living in a camp known as Menik Farm.
While the Sri Lankan government has declared the war over, the displaced population is living in extremely difficult conditions and it is still uncertain when they will be able to return to their home communities. Many of the displaced spent months trapped in the northern conflict zone, and they suffer from injuries, malnutrition, and severe trauma.
UMCOR is helping thousands at the Menik Farm camp by providing emergency shelters for 700 families as well as 3,000 baby and hygiene kits, and 34,000 emergency kits. The contents of each of the kits were coordinated through an inter-agency effort to ensure that the basic needs of the people in the camp would be met. These kits match those being distributed by other NGOs serving the Menik Farm camp.
UMCOR is also purchasing 20 water tanks to to help alleviate the growing water and sanitation problem in the camp. A triage medical center is also being established near Menik Farm with assistance from UMCOR, Muslim Aid and the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA).
Channel for Assistance
UMCOR has long been a channel for assistance for people displaced by the conflict in Sri Lanka. As the manager of the US Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA)-funded SHARE umbrella grant, UMCOR is able to ensure that those left most vulnerable by the fighting receive the help they need.
Currently, $1.6 million of these funds is being used for direct assistance to people displaced by the conflict. Emergency shelters, water and sanitation assistance, relief supplies, and medical supplies are all supported through this umbrella grant.
Helping the Displaced
UMCOR has been helping people displaced by conflict in Sri Lanka since 2006 when fighting broke out in one of UMCOR’s project areas. UMCOR and its partner, Muslim Aid, were among the first to respond to this crisis and were able to coordinate assistance to some 57,000 families that were displaced by the fighting.
UMCOR in Sri Lanka
UMCOR established its office in Sri Lanka following the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Country operations are based in Colombo with program offices in Batticaloa, Trincomalee, and Vavuniya. All of UMCOR's programs in Sri Lanka are carried out in close cooperation with the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka (MCSL).
UMCOR currently partners with local and international non-governmental organizations and international organizations to respond to emergencies.