As Sri Lanka Conflict Ends, WFP Responds To IDP Challenge

WFP is boosting food stocks and supplying nutritionally-rich food for women and children in order to meet the needs of IDPs displaced in the final days of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war. UN Chief Visits Sri Lanka

By May 24, WFP was feeding 280,000 people in temporary transit camps set up by the Sri Lankan government. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited one of the camps over the weekend to see the situation for himself. UN Chief visits Sri Lanka

Over the last few months, around 300,000 people have been displaced by the battling between Sri Lankan government forces and the LTTE Tamil Tiger rebel movement. They include about 80,000 who fled the conflict zone during the weekend of May 16 and 17 as the civil war came to an end.

Full rations and fortified food

The majority of the IDPs have already passed through the government-screening point at Omanthai, a town in the northern Vavuniya district. They are now in more than 40 temporary transit centres/welfare villages – primarily in Vavuniya. The IDPs are currently completely dependent upon humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs.

Northern Sri Lanka

White arrows show movement of IDPs away from conflict zone. Click map to enlarge.

map of Sri Lanka

  • Learn about the background to the conflict here


As well as providing full rations to the people in the temporary transit centres, WFP is gearing up to provide additional fortified food to all children under the age of five years and for pregnant and lactating women.

To meet the daily food needs of the IDP population, WFP is boosting food stocks in its Vavuniya hub and also putting mobile storage units in place in the temporary transit camps.

Cooking round the clock

More than 80,000 people who passed through the government screening point at Omanthai received cooked meals provided by WFP. WFP’s partner at Omanthai, Sevelanka has been cooking round the clock.

To maintain food distributions through the end of the year, WFP is appealing for US$40 million for 2009. Although WFP has enough food to meet current needs, it takes up to six months to translate new funding into meals for the IDPs, so we are urging donors to confirm commitments quickly.


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