I left Colombo this morning at 6 a.m. and we travelled via Vavuniya, Killinochchi over Elephant Pass and down to Jaffna. I love this part of Sri Lanka and my good friend Dr, Mahesh who is with me, lived here as a boy and knows it well.
I first visited the north of Sri Lanka in June 2010 when I first arrived to take up a new poosting with the Red Cross (IFRC) and I travelled with Tissa Abbeywickrama. Col. Madu and Barry Armstrong.
At that juncture, we were just starting the Sri Lanka Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme (PCRP) and I recall vividly visiting villages in Kilinochchi where people were living in hovels or very poor temporary shelter. On that trip we handed out letters saying that the bearer would receive a house, water supply, a toilet and a grant for livelihoods.
The 25 year long war had only finished a year earlier and people were worn-out, still confused and struggling to survive. The Government was doing all it could to help and working with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, JAICA, the UN and other bi lateral partners, infrastructure was being rebuilt after the region was totally flattened by a brutal war.
Today we were back in Kilinochchi with Nadeka Arambewela (Australian Red Cross)
right) with Vimala Rani on her right and three of her five children. She explained how her life had changed with her house, water and sanitation and the livelihood grant she received.
Our two doctors and public health specialists Bhanu and Mahesh found a problem with the well and when I left they were still looking into it.
Photos: Bob McKerrow IFRC