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GIEWS Update-detail
FAO/GIEWS Global Watch

6 May 2009

Food Security Update for Sri Lanka:
Over One Million People Affected in Five Northern Districts, Drought in a Southern Area


The intensified conflict between the national government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has affected over one million people living in five northern districts (Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya). Over 100 000 people have fled the conflict zone since 20 April 2009, joining those already in temporary camps which now shelter some 192 000. About 50 000 people are also estimated to be trapped between firing lines, and some 40 000 civilians, expected to flee the conflict zone in the next two weeks, will require emergency food aid interventions.

At the national level, food supply is satisfactory; paddy production for the 2009 Maha season is officially forecast at 2.5 million tonnes, 18 percent increase compared to last year’s good production. However, the standing crops in the two conflict districts: Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu have been severely affected by the conflict, while crops in the southern district of Badulla have been stricken by drought. Based on the latest official forecasts, the paddy output during this Maha season is likely to decrease compared to last year: by 30 percent in Killinochchi (21 500 tonnes compared to 31 000 tonnes, with a population of 142 000), by more than 45 percent in Mullaitivu (10 380 tonnes compared to 19 200 tonnes, with a population of 145 000), and by about 80 percent in Badulla (18 900 tonnes down from 88 000 tonnes, with a population of 837 000). Food insecurity in these districts is, therefore, anticipated in 2009/10.

All international humanitarian agencies operating in the LTTE-controlled Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts have been ordered to relocate to Vavuniya as of September 2008. They still have no access to the conflict areas.