© UNICEF/NYHQ07-2605/Haviv

An adolescent girl recalls the day her twin brother was forcibly recruited by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Intensified conflict has created an escalating humanitarian crisis.


The northern part of Sri Lanka is currently facing an increasing humanitarian emergency due to intensified conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Severe acute malnutrition amounts to 10.2 per cent in Trincomalee and 6.7 per cent in Batticaloa District. While the national average for access to potable water is 79 per cent, it is far lower in conflict-affected areas, such as the districts of Kilinochchi (13 per cent) and Mullaitivu (19 per cent). The resumption of open fighting has disrupted education for an estimated 250,000 children and has increased the risk of underage recruitment by armed groups and other child rights’ violations.


UNICEF is the cluster lead for nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and education. UNICEF-assisted humanitarian response is expected to reach over 430,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by the conflict, resettled populations and host communities in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

Health: UNICEF will procure and distribute essential emergency drugs and equipment to 50 health centres to provide basic maternal and child health services; facilitate mobile clinic services; rehabilitate and reconstruct health facilities; and train 150 health staff in maternal and child health clinic activities.

Nutrition: UNICEF will continue supporting the Nutrition Rehabilitation Programme (NRP) to cover all affected districts with high level of severe acute malnutrition and treat an estimated 5,000 severely malnourished children ensuring 95 per cent coverage. UNICEF will further pursue supplementary feeding programmes targeting 15,000 moderately malnourished children in collaboration with WFP and train 100 health staff in treating severe malnutrition.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: UNICEF will provide 266,500 resettled and displaced persons with safe water and sanitation facilities by constructing/rehabilitating new and existing infrastructures; train community water supply management teams in water and sanitation technical assessments; and promote hygiene awareness programmes in resettled areas, IDP camps and schools.

Education: UNICEF will provide a total of 100,000 displaced and war-affected children with basic school materials and recreational kits; train 2,500 primary schoolteachers; rehabilitate 100 damaged schools and construct 100 temporary learning spaces, including water and sanitation facilities, to ensure conflict-affected children have continued access to a safe learning environment.

Child Protection: UNICEF will provide psychosocial support to 50,000 children through child-friendly spaces and Children’s Clubs in camps and communities; support district-based mechanisms in the eight districts of the North and East for monitoring and reporting on child rights’ violations in line with Security Council Resolution 1612; provide reintegration support for up to 1,500 children associated with armed groups; and provide mine-risk education to
250,000 community members.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2009*
Sector US$
Health 1,100,000
Nutrition 2,200,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 4,300,000
Education 4,200,000
Child Protection 3,200,000
Total** 15,000,000

* Funds received against this appeal will be used to respond to both the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women as outlined above. If UNICEF should receive funds in excess of the medium-term funding requirements for this emergency, UNICEF will use those funds to support other, underfunded emergencies.
** The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.