Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation Activities 2004 - 2005

Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation Activities 2004 - 2005

Save the Children in Sri Lanka

Save the Children’s relief assistance to affected families began within 12 hours of the Tsunami of 26 th> December 2004. Within 3 months we had provided food distributions for about 30,000 families (12% of the total displaced population). We also distributed clothes, household and hygiene items to thousands of families who had lost them. More than 10,000 children benefited from play parks and play activities that we set up in IDP centres, helping to return a sense of normality for them.

By the end of December, Save the Children will have built 1,550 transitional shelters, benefiting around 7,750 people. We involved families in the design of their shelters, and made several changes as a result. Our design in Ampara District has received praise from UNHCR and local authorities for its quality and low cost. We are also upgrading shelters built by other agencies where communities found they did not meet minimum standards.

Save the Children is working towards restoring people’s livelihoods and by the end of 2005, we will have delivered 368 fishing boats in Batticaloa District alone - 61 per cent of all boats registered as lost there. These will provide employment for more than 1,000 crew members and others, such as fish vendors. In all, we will replace more than 1,000 boats throughout tsunami-affected areas.

Save the Children is supporting more than 3,500 families by providing cash grants and equipment to set up small businesses, such as food processing, brick making, sewing and poultry farming. We have also paid some of the poorest and most vulnerable people to carry out reconstruction work, such as school refurbishment and construction, and repairing roads. Close to 5,000 households have been involved in cash-for-work activities.

To restore children’s access to education, we supported the provision of extra classes and equipment so that more than 11,000 children could catch up with their studies. Also, we distributed 14,000 sets of secondary school notes so that children could go on to take their examinations. We are also rehabilitating 21 schools damaged benefiting about 15,000 children. We have been responding to displaced children's educational needs through small projects such as providing bicycles to enable them to get to school and libraries so that they have somewhere to do their homework. We held psychosocial sessions to help over 400 teachers overcome their trauma and equip them in providing support to children, in addition to providing them with material and financial support.

We are reaching 20 to 25 per cent of preschool children affected by the tsunami. Our initial response was to distribute nearly 16,000 kits containing education materials to pupils in preschools and welfare centres. By the end of December, we will have built 160 preschools that will provide learning and play opportunities to over 10,000 children aged 3-5.

For child protection of children who have lost their parents, Save the Children prioritised registration and documentation in the first months. We are now providing support to foster families and have trained 1,000 new staff, partner organisations and members of the Sri Lankan police force and army on child protection.

With the Ministry of Social Welfare, we have set up child protection committees in 60 villages, made up of parents, teachers, doctors and other community members, to identify children at risk and issues affecting them. Following concern that children in those areas still affected by the war are vulnerable to underage recruitment, Save the Children has provided vocational training to 200 young people in order to give them other alternatives in life. Over the next three years, more than 1,500 young people considered vulnerable will receive training. Working with the Ministry of Social Welfare we are jointly funding, with UNICEF, the construction of 60 Social Development Centres. For the first time, families will be able to access social protection services, such as the women and children's desk and the probation service, under one roof.