The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is appealing for $18.6 million to assist an estimated 500,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sri Lanka who have been uprooted by decades of armed conflict.
The funds – part of the Sri Lanka Common Humanitarian Action Plan – will go towards protection of the displaced, returnees and other populations affected by the fighting between Government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). It will also be used to provide shelter, non-food relief items and camp management.
This year's appeal follows a similar request made last year for $22.5 million following the large displacement in the east of the South Asian island nation. Some 170,000 displaced persons subsequently returned to their villages in the Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts, and more returns are expected this year. The agency distributed more than half a million non-food relief items to affected populations last year.
UNHCR notes there are still some 187,700 displaced since fighting escalated in April 2006. The agency is also working with the Government to find lasting solutions for some 312,000 people who have remained in a state of protracted displacement during the last 20 years of conflict.
Tens of thousands of IDPs have returned to their areas of origin following the 2002 ceasefire agreement that halted the decades-long conflict between the Government and the LTTE. The Government withdrew from that agreement in January.