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Sri Lanka

In the wake of the 2004 tsunami, Handicap International set up rehabilitation centres in Sri Lanka to treat the survivors. These centres also benefited victims of the civil war that ravaged the country from 1983 to 2009.

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In the wake of the 2004 tsunami, Handicap International set up rehabilitation centres in Sri Lanka to treat the survivors. These centres also benefited victims of the civil war that ravaged the country from 1983 to 2009.
In the wake of the 2004 tsunami, Handicap International set up rehabilitation centres in Sri Lanka to treat the survivors. These centres also benefited victims of the civil war that ravaged the country from 1983 to 2009.

Our actions

Handicap International's teams took rapid and effective action right from the day after the 2004 tsunami hit Sri Lanka. The organisation, which has been working in the country since 1992, now provides support for people with disabilities through rehabilitation, advocacy, capacity building and poverty reduction projects.

Following the severe flooding in Sri Lanka in December 2014, Handicap International offered assistance to communities in the worst-affected districts (Batticaloa and Ampara). After the disaster, the most vulnerable households found themselves in an extremely precarious situation. Handicap International provided them with funds and seeds for the next harvest, to meet their basic needs between harvests (notably the need for access to healthcare) and to ensure they would be able to feed themselves.

Further north in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts, Handicap International provided rehabilitation and orthopaedic fitting services for people with disabilities, notably to the victims of landmines and explosive remnants of war. The organisation also distributed mobility aids such as crutches, walkers and wheelchairs. In order to guarantee the sustainability of existing rehabilitation services, the organisation provides technical given to the rehabilitation team at the Kilinochchi prostheses and orthoses clinic, which was jointly launched by the Minister for Health for the North province and Handicap International, in December 2013.

In a country where people with disabilities have very limited access to employment, Handicap International establishes relationships between people with disabilities and different organisations, such as vocational training centres, banks, chambers of commerce, associations, and economic development schemes implemented by the government etc. The aim is to improve attitudes to disability and to enable people with disabilities to have better access to these services and to employment.

In order to reduce the impact of natural disasters on the inhabitants of the provinces in the north and the east of the country, Handicap International is educating the population on the risks and ensuring that people with disabilities have access to all the services put into place in emergency situations, including rehabilitation care. The organisation also works to ensure that people with disabilities are identified as being at-risk and are considered as stakeholders in their own right, in the prevention and crisis management mechanisms used.

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Change a life

Background

Sri Lanka was already ravaged by armed conflict when the tsunami hit its coasts in 2004. The disaster caused the loss of more than 40,000 lives and led to the displacement of over 500,000 people, in addition to the 390,000 persons already displaced by the conflict. The combination of the tsunami and the armed conflict increased the vulnerability of people with disabilities in the country.

The war which consumed the north of the country lasted for nearly 30 years (1983 - 2009) and caused more than 60,000 deaths. Thousands of people were injured, of whom many were left with disabilities and many sustained their injuries from shells or anti-personnel landmines. 390,000 persons were displaced by the conflict  during the civil war.

Sri Lanka’s wounds are slowly healing and the reconstruction process is still ongoing, helped by the country’s flourishing economy, and the rapid development of its infrastructures and services. Nevertheless, there is still a significant risk of natural disasters, including flooding, drought, landslides and cyclones, all of which frequently affect the island. Along with these recurrent disasters, the 2004 tsunami caused widespread physical and social damage. The disaster killed more than 40,000 people and left over 250,000 homeless. In recent years, flooding forced more than 400,000 to flee their homes in 2008 and a further 300,000 in 2010.

Handicap International - Sri Lanka
WHERE your support HELPS

Partners

  • Availability and access to physical rehabilitation 

    • Kilinochchi Prosthetics and Orthotics Center

    Permanently reducing the poverty of vulnerable people by promoting fair and equal opportunities 

    • This project is funded by EuropeAid and implemented by Handicap International in partnership with the CAMID, local association.

    Inclusive community-based disaster risk management for a resilient Sri Lanka

    • This project is funded by ECHO. 
    • Handicap International is the leader of a consortium made up of ACTED, Oxfam and Save the Children.