As civilians pour out of the war zone in northern Sri Lanka, seeking safety in temporary displacement camps, the need for medicines, food and shelter is growing quickly says World Vision.
“Tens of thousands of people have been flooding into government-controlled areas,” said World Vision Lanka’s national director Suresh Bartlett.
“We know from those who have fled earlier that these new waves of internally displaced survivors will be in great need, having been caught in the middle of a war zone for weeks.
“There is great need for medicines, food and shelter. Humanitarian agencies want to be ramping up their responses to help.”
The increase in fighting and movement of people comes as Asia’s longest-running conflict draws to a close.
For almost 30 years, the Government of Sri Lanka has fought the Liberation of Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE), who are battling for an independent state.
In the past few months, Government forces have defeated the LTTE in several locations, effectively cornering them in the northern coastal town of Mullaitivu where fighting has continued to rage.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been caught up in the areas surrounding the war zone, although more and more are getting out each day. As the fighting comes to an end, the crisis is set to pose a huge challenge as the need to provide relief to displaced persons increases.
Before Monday’s mass movements, more than 65,000 people were housed in temporary camps in the Jaffna, Mannar and Vavuniya districts. Most of these are living in 16 camps throughout the Vavuniya district, where World Vision is working.
As the crisis has worsened over the past few weeks, food packets have been provided to more than 25,000 IDPs and nearly 70,000 litres of water are being distributed across a number of camps.
Breastfeeding tents have been set up in every campsite across Vavuniya district, to provide displaced women with a secure area to feed their children.
World Vision is also working to set up Temporary Learning Spaces with activities for hundreds of children affected by the conflict.