Mid-Year Review of the Common Humanitarian Action Plan for Sri Lanka 2009

21 July 2009

Sri Lanka’s landscape changed dramatically during the first half of the 2009.   The Government of Sri Lanka’s (GoSL) advance into remaining rebel-held territory in the northern Vanni region continued until mid-May, when the final battles were fought in a small strip of land on the north-eastern coast in the District of Mullaitivu.  On 18 May 2009 the GoSL announced the end of combat operations, concluding the 26-year long conflict with the separatist movement of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  Over 230,000 people fled during the final month of the conflict, joining another 65,000 IDPs who had escaped from the Northern Vanni conflict area between the end of 2008 and mid-April 2009. 

The large and sudden influxes have created significant challenges in addressing the overwhelming humanitarian needs of the nearly 285,000 Vanni IDPs[1].  Government capacities as well as those of humanitarian aid agencies have been strained, particularly in the North-Central district of Vavuniya District, where nearly 262,000 IDPs are currently accommodated.  

The GoSL is providing significant resources such as land clearing, drainage, electricity, water supply, etc. to assist the displaced populations who are accommodated in IDP camps in Vavuniya, Jaffna, and Trincomalee.  UN agencies and dozens of NGOs are providing basic assistance and monitoring needs and gaps in IDP sites. Despite progress in addressing the large-scale needs of the displaced population, the humanitarian response has faced numerous challenges such as: insufficient quantities of suitable land available for IDP camps with appropriate facilities, overcrowding, over-stretched health and education infrastructures, access for humanitarian organisations, staffing capacity of implementing agencies, and checkpoint procedures at Medawachchiya, south of Vavuniya.  To rapidly address some of these challenges, the GoSL recently appointed a Major-General to be the Competent Authority with temporary responsibility for coordination, administration and implementation of relief work for IDPs.

The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) in Sri Lanka, in consultation with the GoSL, donors and agencies involved in humanitarian relief and early recovery activities, have agreed on an amended scenario based on these latest dramatic events.  Following the first large-scale influx of IDPs in April, the HCT compiled a summary of Emergency Priorities in Sri Lanka to highlight the most urgent humanitarian needs for IDPs during the upcoming three-month period (May through July).  The supplemental document sought to clarify the nature and scale of the response within the framework of Sri Lanka’s 2009 Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) and identified projects totalling
$52 million.  This exercise fed into the 2009 Mid-Year Review process and the two processes have enabled humanitarian partners, under the leadership of cluster leads, to look critically at progress to date, review changes in the context and needs, and update response plans accordingly. 

The priority for humanitarian assistance currently centres on the displaced population of nearly 300,000 in the North, primarily in Vavuniya but also in Mannar, Trincomalee and Jaffna.  Cluster priorities based on needs and critical gaps are in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Shelter, Food, Health, Nutrition, Education and Protection.  Projects in the CHAP primarily aim to address urgent life-saving and life-sustaining needs, but the Mid-Year Review also highlights important linkages between humanitarian and early recovery activities for anticipated and ongoing return areas. The revised CHAP includes projects to assist up to 100,000 people in support of the GoSL’s plan to return the majority of the displaced to their places of origin before the end of the year.  Priority projects are included for Economic Recovery and Infrastructure (ERI) and Agriculture in support of returns in Jaffna, Mannar (Manthai West, Madhu and Musali) and Vavuniya North.  Mine action activities, including Mine Risk Education, are included as an integral part of the return process and fall under the Protection Cluster. 

An Early Recovery Plan and resource mobilisation document is being developed for the eastern districts of Trincomalee and Batticaloa, and seeks to complement the humanitarian focus of the CHAP.  As a result of the Early Recovery review some CHAP projects were revised and transferred into the Early Recovery Plan.

The Mid-Year Review introduces new projects and revisions to existing ones. The total revised funding requirements amount to approximately $270 million[2]for 185 projects. At mid-year[3], the Sri Lanka CHAP 2009 has received nearly $97 million (36% against the revised requirements), leaving a funding gap of $173 million. Humanitarian funding outside the CHAP currently stands at nearly $40 million bringing the total contributions to the humanitarian response in Sri Lanka to roughly $137 million.  

[1]In addition to the 285,000 IDP, approximately 10,000 people from been identified with suspected LTTE-affiliation and separated

[2]All dollar signs in this document denote United States dollars.  Funding for this plan should be reported to the Financial Tracking Service (fts@reliefweb.int), which will display its requirements and funding to date on the Current Appeals page.

[3]All funding figures in this document are as at 25 June 2009. 

Document History

21 July 2009

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