Lutheran World Relief Brings Urgent Aid to Sri Lanka

June 19, 2009

BALTIMORE, June 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Lutheran World Relief (LWR) announced today a $500,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support its emergency response to the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka. The grant will fund half of LWR’s response with local partners to supply food and water, establish community kitchens, and provide hygiene supplies, and educational and other services to children.

By providing for the immediate needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs), the grant allows LWR to expand the scope of its response and focus on the variety of medium- to long-term challenges facing Sri Lankans affected by armed conflict. Two LWR partner organizations will be supported by the grant: the Federation of Social Development Organization (FOSDO) and Social Economical and Environmental Developers (SEED).

The most urgent priority is providing food and clean water to IDPs in the Vavuniya district of Sri Lanka. LWR’s partners will assist in developing community kitchens in the camps, which will provide nearly 20,000 people with food for at least 45 days. LWR’s partners will also provide cooking supplies, including pots and utensils, to community kitchens in 10 locations. SEED will supply hygiene packs – containing items such as diapers, soap, towels, and toothbrushes – for 4,000 children.

“With funding from the Gates Foundation, LWR will be able to scale up the work we have been doing to provide lifesaving food and water to Sri Lankans displaced by the conflict. The needs are urgent, so this grant is very well-timed,” said Joanne Fairley, LWR Regional Director for Asia and the Middle East.

Armed conflict between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has killed and injured thousands of people since the war began in 1983, with fighting intensifying this past spring. Although the government of Sri Lanka declared victory on May 18, approximately 265,000 people still remain in, or continue to arrive at, government-run IDP camps. Many people in the crowded camps are sick, injured, malnourished, and dehydrated. In addition, many are separated from their families and traumatized by the impact of the fighting.

“People wait in long lines hoping to receive limited food, so LWR is prioritizing this in our relief work” Fairley said. “Our staff members in Sri Lanka have actually seen people die while waiting in line for food and water. The situation is extremely dire,” she added.

While the foundation’s grant is an essential piece of LWR’s emergency response in Sri Lanka, more funding is necessary to meet the urgent needs of people in the camps. Lutheran World Relief needs to raise an additional $500,000 to ensure that displaced Sri Lankans are able to feed their families, maintain a healthy environment, and educate their children. LWR accepts donations online at lwr.org or by phone at 1-800-LWR-LWR-2 (597-5972).


Editors: When listing organizations receiving donations for aid to survivors of major disasters outside the United States, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, please include:

Lutheran World Relief, www.lwr.org, 1-800-597-5972

For information contact:

Emily Sollie, 410-230-2802, 443-220-3269 cell, esollie@lwr.org

WHO IS LWR? Lutheran World Relief, an international nonprofit organization, works to end poverty and injustice by empowering some of the world’s most impoverished communities to help themselves. With partners in 35 countries, LWR seeks to promote sustainable development with justice and dignity by helping communities bring about change for healthy, safe and secure lives; engage in Fair Trade; promote peace and reconciliation; and respond to emergencies. LWR is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. and has worked in international development and relief since 1945.

Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), individuals and parish groups in international relief, development, advocacy and social responsibility.

SOURCE Lutheran World Relief

Source: newswire

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