Batticaloa, Colombo, Human Rights, Jaffna, Peace and Conflict, Trincomalee

Maps of shame

Every time I look at an OCHA map of Sri Lanka, the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis is made really clear. For here, we have entire regions, districts of Sri Lanka suffering under multiple humanitarian crises. There are swathes of land without access, thousands of families without adequate food, water, shelter. The OCHA map also paints a picture markedly different to that of the Government’s rosy image of returning normalcy.

Who can these communities turn to? Caught between a Government more interested in a witch-hunt against NGOs, an LTTE that’s hell-bent on Eelam through even more bloodshed and violence, mysterious armed groups that appear and disappear overnight, and all manner of other travails and hardships that we cannot even imagine, the OCHA map is a grotesque reminder that while we party in Colombo, there are fellow citizens dying, starving and have little hope in 2007 of a better life.

Every OCHA map marks out clearly a responsibility to act to save lives – what are we waiting for?

Humanitarian Access as at 12 December, 2006