GUEST BLOGGER:  Returning to Sri Lanka

Posted by: Nick, US aid worker in Sri Lanka To me, returning to Sri Lanka is much like returning home after a long time at college. There are of course my immediate loved ones here—people who open their homes and kitchens to us. Then there are the many friends and acquaintances, and all the news to catch up on. Obviously the major issue in the country at the moment is the situation in the camps for those displaced by the war. While we entered the country with army clearance authorizing us to work in the camps, newly implemented police checkpoints have created an additional obstacle. However, we were able to get to the facilities of Pulmoody Camp and meet with the physicians, though we weren’t able to work directly with the IDP population. We are optimistic, however, that we will be able to clear these hurdles and access the general populations directly. Tomorrow morning we will be clearing vitamins from port where they have been held.  From there, we have cleared them to be shipped to IDP camps in Vavuniya. These vitamins will serve 4,000 children over the next three months, and hopefully we will also be able to collect information and supply other assistance if possible. An additional 1,000 children, mostly children displaced into orphanages, will be provided with higher dose vitamins, enough for the next 6-12 months. We are administering all of this through local medical professionals and synchronizing with NGOs in the area to prevent overlap. We’ve also been able to initiate medical programs across the east, specifically to major hospitals from Batti to Trinco. Most notably we have worked at the diabetes clinics in Batti and Vallaichennai to take statistical data and have supplied four hospitals with glucometers. Anyway, things here are safe and good at the moment, and we are all in good health.