IDPs reeling -- no money
Mar 14, 2010
Supply of water, sanitation and health facilities may grind to a halt for IDPs.

The UN and other humanitarian agencies are running out of resources to meet the urgent needs of internally displaced persons in the North.

Among the services hit by depleted funds are the supply of water to the nearly 100,000 IDPs remaining at Menik Farm in Vauniya.

Aid agencies warn that the maintenance and distribution of water, sanitation and health facilities at Menik Farm, water bowser facilities and waste management etc., are threatened by a lack of funds. As of 1 March, only three agencies are engaged in shelter maintenance at Menik Farm with the absence of funds compelling other relief agencies to stop their activities.

The fortnightly Joint Humanitarian Update released by the Inter Agency Standing Committee also stated that a closure or scaling down of projects across sectors — particularly education, health, food and nutrition — may have a detrimental impact on the overall relief environment.

The 2010 Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) is produced annually through a collaboration of all major humanitarian assistance groups in the country (including UN agencies). The CHAP is a document listing out priority areas for donor funding along with estimates. This is usually released to the international donor community by way of consolidated or flash appeal, and offers information about sectors that require injections of aid.

In Sri Lanka, the CHAP is developed under the leadership of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The last appeal should have been sent to Geneva in January, or earlier - but has not been endorsed by the authorities who feel the mechanism is useless. Consequently, there is still no consolidated appeal for humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka this year.

LAKBIMAnEWS learns that the OCHA was in negotiations with the authorities until last week to have the CHAP document released after approval. The contention of the authorities is that humanitarian and other assistance for the North and East should be channelled through the task force and line ministries rather than via the OCHA.

In its report last week the IASC also warns that a lack of funds may cause “gaps” to emerge in child protection and psychosocial counselling, as well as prevention of sexual and other forms of gender-based violence. Funding shortages are affecting the continued provision of water, sanitation and health services at Menik Farm, it states. The bowser fleet capacity had decreased by 50 percent at the end of February. Consequently, the supply standard of 10 litres per person is no longer being achieved.

National Water Supply and Drainage Board has also suspended its bowsers due to lack of funds.

Courtesy: Lakbima