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Civil conflict in Sri Lanka forces thousands to evacuate
8/14/2006
Renewed fighting between the eastern and northern region of Sri Lanka has caused thousands of people to flee their homes.  Homes and businesses have been burned and looted as the violence continues to escalate.  In the town of Dili, one of the hardest hit areas, approximately 60 percent of the homes have been destroyed.  This year alone more than 700 people have been added to the list of casualties.

Episcopal Relief and Development is working through the Diocese of Colombo to provide critical aid to internally displaced people.  Approximately 120,000 people from 11 different regions have been affected.  Local churches have opened their doors to serve as temporary shelters, providing simple meals such as rice, curry and roti to the people.   In Trincomalee, 479 families were given dry rations and temporary housing.  The region of Ampara received 70 mattresses and in Navatkudah, relief packages were distributed in the various camps. 

“I continue to be humbled as the church responds to the physical and spiritual needs of those who suffer in the cross fire of this increased violence,” said Kirsten Laursen, senior director for ERD’s Asia Programs. “The courage to serve people in need regardless of religion, ethnicity or political orientation is a hallmark of the work of the church.”  

To help people affected by this disaster, please make a donation to the Emergency Relief Fund at http://www.er-d.org/, or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to Episcopal Relief and Development “Emergency Relief Fund.” P.O. Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101.

Episcopal Relief and Development is the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church of the United States. An independent 501(c) (3) organization, ERD saves lives and builds hope in communities around the world. We provide emergency assistance in times of crisis and rebuild after disasters. We enable people to climb out of poverty by offering long-term solutions in the areas of food security and health care, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.