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Sri Lanka War Wounded in Factory, Makeshift Clinics

[AlertNet, Friday, 5 June 2009 05:56 No Comment]

In displacement camps set up in schools, factories and tents, thousands of traumatized Sri Lankans survive on meager rations and wait to return back home.

For some, it may be a month. For others it may be years.

"Just because the war is over doesn’t mean that the needs are over," said Merry Fitzpatrick, humanitarian organization World Concern’s director of disaster response.

World Concern has assisted more than 23,000 people who have been affected, many of them civilians wounded during the 26-year-long civil war, which ended last month.

For about 8,000 displaced people living in four camps, World Concern is providing the basics, depending on the need. It usually includes food, clothes and toilets.

Those living in displacement camps are of the Tamil ethnic minority.

Sri Lankan soldiers are watching people in the camps to try and identify members of the Tamil Tigers, the group with members widely considered to be terrorists, which fought for an independent homeland for the Tamil people.

Outside of displacement camps, World Concern has worked with medical professionals to supply hospitals with basic supplies to serve more than 1,000 people. Aid may include bed sheets, toiletries, hospital supplies, food and water.

"We are working with the neediest of the needy, people who can’t do anything for themselves," said Fitzpatrick. "People who have lost limbs, have internal injuries, maybe they have lost blood, have infections. A lot of them are burned."

These hospitals include established facilities, as well as makeshift emergency clinics. In a garment factory, World Concern has assisted nearly 200 injured and nearly 600 other displaced people.

Since the conflict began escalating early this year, World Concern has used its diplomatic relationships with people on both sides of the conflict to provide care for those who need it most.

"The hospitals where we are working are in zones where others cannot get into," said Fitzpatrick.

World Concern is planning for ways to rebuild the lives of those displaced by the war, though no end is in sight for many of those kept away from their homes.

Fitzpatrick says the care families receive will be dictated by the amount of money available. Although out of the war zone, the vulnerable have trouble healing in crowded or unsanitary conditions.

"We need more money," she says. "Families need better food, better living conditions – like showers – even clothes and places to eat."

Christian humanitarian organization World Concern serves the poor in 24 of the most difficult countries on Earth, providing disaster response and community development programs to provide hope to the suffering and help ease the grasp of poverty.

Source: World Concern – USA

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