In the wake of the 2004 tsunami, HI set up rehabilitation centres. Since 2015, HI shifted its action to address reconciliation issues, including transitional justice and reducing inequalities via inclusive economic development programming.
Sri Lanka - Humanity & Inclusion | © HI
Actions in process
HI's teams took rapid and effective action immediately after the 2004 tsunami hit Sri Lanka. The organisation, which has been working in the country since 1992, provides support to vulnerable people and people with disabilities, who are disadvantaged and particularly exposed to the risk of natural disasters, through inclusive employment and community social inclusion projects.
HI also trains civil society organisations to provide vulnerable people, people with disabilities and women with job opportunities.
Furthermore, as part of the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka, the organisation promotes the participation in society of women, particularly women with disabilities, including by organising training on women’s rights, equality and reconciliation, to help them build peace in their communities and feel more integrated. Groups of women are also conducting awareness sessions to inform about fundamental rights.
HI also provides rehabilitation care to children born with clubfoot using the Ponseti method. In addition, the organisation raises community awareness of this issue and enhances the early detection of disability.
Situation of the country
Sri Lanka was already ravaged by armed conflict when the tsunami hit its coast in 2004.
The war which consumed the north of the country lasted for nearly 30 years (1983 - 2009) and caused more than 60,000 deaths. Thousands of people were injured, of whom many were left with disabilities and many sustained their injuries from shells or anti-personnel landmines. Some 390,000 people were displaced by the conflict during the civil war.
The 2004 tsunami caused widespread physical and social damage. The disaster killed more than 40,000 people and left over 250,000 homeless. In recent years, flooding forced more than 400,000 to flee their homes in 2008 and a further 300,000 in 2010.
Sri Lanka’s wounds are slowly healing and the reconstruction process is still ongoing, helped by the country’s flourishing economy, and the rapid development of its infrastructure and services. Nevertheless, there is still a significant risk of natural disasters, including flooding, drought, landslides and cyclones, all of which frequently affect the island.
Number of HI staff members: 44
Date programme opened: 1992