Economic independence in North questionable; UN

21 January 2011 03:00 pm - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The United Nations reiterated its pledge to aid in the humanitarian relief for those affected by the floods in the Eastern and Central Provinces and indicated that employment opportunities in the North were slim and could possibly hamper economic independence.

When questioned on the living situations of those resettled in the North UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg indicated that the opportunities for employment in the area were slim.

“When I asked one individual how long the relocation grants he had been given would last he said for his family of 5 about 3 months. When I asked him what he would do when the funds ran out he shrugged indicating that no economic activities were available to him,” she said.

Bragg traveled to the North of the country where she talked to people who recently returned home after being released from IDP's camps.

“Most of the returnees currently have limited access to basic services such as shelter, water and sanitation and health care. These communities remain extremely vulnerable and have critical humanitarian needs that we must address immediately,” she said.

Bragg admitted that she was unable to meet with those persons in Batticloa affected by the inclement weather conditions that prevailed in the island.

“I didn’t meet the local people because there was a number of issues in transport, timing and the weather which meant that we didn’t spend much time on the ground,” she said.

“We need to continue our humanitarian work and are committed to remaining here and providing humanitarian assistance to all those in need, wherever they are,” Bragg added.

Bragg praised the government for its efforts and the access it provided for aid organizations. “The government response was extremely good- they mobilised immediately and was very openly and collaborated with NGO’s, INGO’s and the UN in providing assistance,” she said.

Resident Coordinator of United Nations in Sri Lanka Neil Buhne stated that the UN had access to the Menik Farm areas since the very beginning while Bragg stated that the Government had been receptive to the calls of access from the UN.

Assistant Secretary-General’s visit to the country had been planned a month prior to the flooding of various parts of the island, to asses the humanitarian situation of those still within the IDP's camps in the North.

“I came to Sri Lanka to asses the current humanitarian situation in the country and it’s my observation that there are significant and immediate humanitarian needs resulting from the recent flooding in the east, as well as the ongoing needs in the former conflict areas of the north,” she said. (Dianne Silva)

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  Comments - 2

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  • Ceylon Friday, 21 January 2011 11:37 PM

    Another un-employed came to Srilanka..

    cracko Saturday, 22 January 2011 01:09 AM

    Inappropriate heading for the 'substance. in the text.


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