03/07/2011, 00.00
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Caritas-Sri Lanka helping refugees and flood victims

by Melani Manel Perera
The Catholic NGO’s programme focuses on recent flood victims and internally displaced people, with emphasis on child education. About 600 housing units are planned for the districts of Killinochchi and Mullathivu thanks to contributions from Caritas-Switzerland and Caritas-Belgium.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Refugees and flood victims remain the focus of attention for Caritas Sri Lanka-SEDEC, especially families and children living in the northern and eastern districts of the country, which have been the most affected by flooding and war.

Caritas Sri Lanka has a strategic programme for “integral human development, peace building, healing and reconciliation,” Fr George Sigamony, national director of Caritas-Sri Lanka, told AsiaNews. This includes a plan for 500 to 600 housing units in Killinochchi and Mullathivu. Caritas Sri Lanka is also supported by Caritas-Swiss and Caritas-Belgium for livehood programmes.

“Integral human development is an ongoing programme,” which Caritas-Sri Lanka has “been doing” for many years, the clergyman said. “The families of this country have been destroyed by war, and are only now getting over it. This means we must take care of internally displaced people trying to start a new life as well as help flood victims resettle and educate their children.”

According to the latest figures, an estimated 327,000 people are still internally displaced because of the war that ended in May 2009. Some 195,000 have been able to go home without assistance or protection.

Last January’s floods affected about 1.25 million people, killing 11 with three still missing. The torrential rains forced about 300,000 from their homes, which were largely washed away.

Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Badulla, Mannar, Chillaw and Vanni were the most affected districts.

As soon as disaster struck, Caritas-Sri Lanka moved in to help victims.
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