Post-war rehabilitation funds drying upJuly 2, 2011, 6:58 pm
by Shamindra Ferdinando
With the resettlement of approximately 300,000 war displaced people rapidly nearing completion in the Vanni region, the international community is likely to review its funding arrangements regarding post-war recovery projects.
There is a likelihood of major donors reducing assistance in spite of the government not having considered the possibility at the moment.
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in its ‘Joint Humanitarian and Early Recovery Update’ released on June 24 revealed the impending drop in assistance to the Vanni community. "The European Commission intends to phase out its humanitarian engagement in Sri Lanka by the end of 2012, as development programs escalate in the conflict-affected region," UNOCHA said.
No comment from European Commission in spite of reaching relevant authorities on Friday.
Sources speculated that other donors, too, could review their position following the EC indicating its plans.
UNOCHA also revealed that by June 22, 2011, they had been able to raise $ 62 mn (21.8 per cent) of a total requirement of $ 289 mn for the successful implementation of ‘Joint Plan of Assistance for the Northern Province.’
While announcing phasing out of its humanitarian engagement, the European Commission said that it would provide EUR 11 mn for humanitarian projects targeting the most vulnerable in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka.
In accordance with its Humanitarian Implementation Plan (from July 2011 to December 2012), ECHO would support projects in the priority areas of protection, humanitarian de-mining, coordination, food/livelihoods, transitional shelter, health, and water and sanitation.
Commenting on the ongoing program in support of those affected by recent floods, UNOCHA said by June 22, 2011, approximately $ 23 mn (51.2%) had been mobilized against the revised Flash Appeal requirement of $ 46 mn to address the under-funded needs of approximately 1.2 million people affected by the January - February floods primarily in the Eastern, Northern and North Central Provinces.
Government sources told The Sunday Island that the Tamil diaspora could play an important role in the ongoing early recovery project by providing financial assistance to their families living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
Banking sources said that since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the war displaced opened over 50,000 accounts with six State and privately-owned banks and deposited up to Rs. 3 billion. About a billion rupees had been remitted by overseas Tamils to their relatives, friends and various charities.
The collapse of the LTTE fund raising operations abroad would give an opportunity to Tamil diaspora to transfer extra funds to their loved ones here, they said.
The international community should pressure the LTTE rump to throw its weight behind at least the ongoing rehabilitation projects carried out by the government and International Organization for Migration (IOM) for ex-LTTE combatants, they added.
A senior military official alleged that LTTE supporters had done absolutely nothing for those undergoing rehabilitation in spite of shedding crocodile tears for the Tiger fighting cadre as part of its overall strategy to undermine the government.
Such LTTE backers could get in touch with the IOM directly to help finance post-rehabilitation project to help their people find employment, he said.
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