The scale of what Sri Lanka has accomplished over the past three years – the pace of resettlement and the development of infrastructure – is remarkable and very clearly visible, the Director of the Coordination and Response Division of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, John Ging said following a visit to North.
The UN official just concluded a three-day official visit to Sri Lanka has praised the progress made by the Sri Lankan Government in resettling over 440,000 people since the end of the conflict three years ago.
The UN official has expressed his support for continued partnership with the authorities to jointly agree on and meet remaining humanitarian needs. He has also welcomed the commitment of the Government to address peace and development issues through the country’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.
During his visit, Ging met Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and various other government officials. He has also visited the Jaffna district and had discussions with the residents and the resettled people.
According to OCHA, people in the region have asked for basic assistance such as sanitary facilities, clean water, shelter electricity and livelihoods support.
“In 2012, it is absolutely unacceptable that tens of thousands of people are living in such appalling conditions without access to the most basic services,” Ging has said.
According to OCHA, despite these urgent needs humanitarian partners are downsizing due to funding shortfalls.
Only 18.4 per cent of the funds required under the Joint Plan of Assistance to the Northern Province for this year have been received to date, OCHA has said.
Ging has said that it is a critical moment for Sri Lanka and appealed to the donors including those who have already been so generous with their bilateral and development aid, to increase their humanitarian contributions.
“We need their help to restore dignity and hope for those who have endured and lost so much and now urgently need support in rebuilding their lives,” Mr. Jing has said.
During his meeting with Minister Rajapaksa, the Minister has explained to the UN official that Sri Lanka successfully resettled the people displaced during the last phase of the war but now the problem is with the people displaced during the earlier periods of the conflict as they have not been given the facilities as for the new IDPs.
The Minister has stressed that Sri Lanka urgently needs the assistance of the international agencies to provide basic necessities for the old IDPs.
The UN official has assured that the OCHA will provide assistance to resettle old and new alike.