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Cablegate: Re-Declaration of Disaster for the Complex Emergency in Sri

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #1117 3381003
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041003Z DEC 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0935
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK PRIORITY 3986
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3564
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 9166
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 2132
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3886
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1328
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J3/J332/J52//
RHMFIUU/CDRUSARPAC FT SHAFTER HI//APCW/APOP//

UNCLAS COLOMBO 001117

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/INSB, DRL/NESCA AND PRM
STATE ALSO PASS TO USAID
AID/W FOR ANE/SCA
AID/W FOR DCHA/FFP FOR JDWORKEN, JBORNS
AID/W FOR DCHA/OFDA FOR ACONVERY, RTHAYER AND RKERR
BANGKOK FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA WBERGER
KATHMANDU FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA MROGERS AND POL SBERRY
USMISSION GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
USUN FOR ECOSOC DMERCADO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM CE

SUBJECT: Re-declaration of Disaster for the Complex Emergency in Sri
Lanka

1. (U) Background: Continued civil strife in the North of Sri Lanka
has displaced upwards of hundreds of thousand people from their
homes creating a complex emergency for the region. A disaster was
initially declared in August of 2006 when almost 50,000 people had
been displaced. In 2007 and 2008 the disaster was re-declared due
to increased fighting and to the rapid increase in the numbers
displaced in October 2008.

2. (U) On May 19, 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka declared victory
over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (or Tamil Tigers). Over
230,000 people fled the areas of conflict during the final months of
the battle, joining the 65,000 IDPs who had previously fled.
Insecure conditions in the return areas due to land mines and
property destruction have slowed the return of these people to their
place of origin. However, since the beginning of November there has
been a marked increase in the rate of returnees. People are
arriving home with little and the area has been ravaged by fighting
over many years. The emergency continues to be beyond the capacity
of the GSL to respond, the GSL is willing to accept assistance, and
it is in the interest of the U.S. government to support the return
of these people to their points of origin.

3. (U) On December 4, 2009, U.S. Charge d'Affaires Valerie Fowler
re-declared a disaster in Sri Lanka due to the ongoing complex
emergency and needs surrounding the return of the internally
displaced people.

4. (U) USAID/OFDA's primary focus in Sri Lanka is shifting from
basic humanitarian aid in camps to addressing the needs of the
people returning to their homes through activities aimed at health,
water, sanitation, and livelihood. Additional resources for
addressing the needs of this returning population may be requested
upon further assessment by the Mission and OFDA's regional office.

Fowler

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