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August 15, 2006

Sarvodaya Relief for Kantale – Situation Report


15th August 2006

Sarvodaya assessment teams returned from treacherous journeys to Kantale and Seruwila, location of emergency welfare camps for thousands of people who have been displaced by the most recent escalation in violence in Trincomalee/Muttur. Our team was unable to travel on to Muttur to assess the humanitarian crisis due to security concerns and restrictions on travel.

Sarvodaya has long been established in Kantale with a fully-staffed District Centre and 12 Sarvodaya Shramadana Societies. Earlier this year, Sarvodaya had started preparations for this eventuality and has ongoing working relationships with a number of international NGOs such as UNICEF and OXFAM.

In Kantale, there are already around 30,000 displaced persons – Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims; Sarvodaya is helping to provide care for 15,000 of them in temporary camps in schools and other makeshift shelters. Many are recently orphaned or widowed, one third of them are children and all live in constant fear of their lives from the ongoing conflict, aerial bombing, landmines, random shootings and more. Once again, people can no longer gather in groups without being frightened of bombs or other forms of physical violence, and transportation is increasingly dangerous due to landmines, checkpoints etc. The prevailing atmosphere is one of apprehension and martial surroundings. There is a sense of suspicion, anger and fear amongst everyone our team met.

Open Camps by Road Side

NEEDS FOR HUMANITARIAN AID Our priority is to provide for the displaced families’ basic needs of food, water, shelter and clothing plus education for the children who are unable to go to school. Trauma counselling is also necessary for many who have witnessed horrifying scenes of death and destruction.

Sarvodaya’s Relief, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Reconciliation, and Reawakening (5R) Unit is facing a tremendous challenge in providing immediate relief Our divisional and district centres are in desperate need of funds and supplies. To follow is a summary of the camps which we are assisting or managing.

We have outlined below the basic and urgent needs for all 12 camps together with the costs for two weeks’ aid. If you would like to contribute in cash or in kind, please contact us. Any donation, large or small, will be greatly appreciated and will immediately be put to use to help the displaced in Kantale.

How long before the displaced are able to return to their original places of residence


Relief Camps Assisted by Sarvodaya District Centre, Kantale
(in association with UNICEF and OXFAM)

Welfare Camps Managed by Sarvodaya District Centre – Kantale
(in association with UNICEF and OXFAM)

Services provided by Sarvodaya and Local Partners in 5 Camps (listed above)


A newborn baby is cared for by her Grandmother; her father, a police constable, has been shot dead 

Children ‘playing’ with disused tyres in one of the camps

Families queuing for dry rations

Installation of Temporary Toilets

Installation of Temporary Toilets

Volunteers installing temporary toilets

Clean Water

Clean Water

Psychosocial Care for Children in the Camps

Distribution of family hygiene packs with UNFPA assistance

Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement for the People in Need.