Time to help Sri Lanka children is now, says World Vision



    MISSISSAUGA, ON, April 30 /CNW/ - World Vision is urging Canadians to
seize an opportunity to help Sri Lanka meet the critical needs of at least
60,000 child survivors of war, as a major influx of children and their
families from the conflict zone pushes displaced persons camps beyond
capacity.
    World Vision Sri Lanka National Director Suresh Bartlett, who recently
returned from visiting camps in the North, said he was deeply troubled about
the impact of the war on children, and was worried that the global financial
crisis and swine pandemic are taking the world's attention away from meeting
these urgent needs.
    "It is almost impossible to understand what these children have been
through. Can you imagine what it must be like to see your friends, brothers
and sisters killed, to live in fear of the blasts and gunshots, to see your
parents terrified and to go without meals and water for days on end?
    "There are almost 200,000 survivors in the camps in the North who have
survived a most brutal experience after being trapped in a conflict zone for
weeks. At least 60,000 children are among them," said Bartlett.
    World Vision is already meeting the needs of 10,000 families with
assistance, including water, supplementary foods, and shelter. It is also
setting up specials tents where children can learn, play and escape for a few
hours from the reality of life around them. However, much more is required by
all international aid agencies to meet the needs of those displaced. The camps
are overflowing and the government is asking for assistance from the aid
community.
    "I am extremely concerned that if we don't seize this opportunity to help
the conflict survivors, especially the children, who are suffering from this
long-running conflict, they will remain scarred not just by their memories but
also by ongoing poverty. It is critical that we urgently commit funds to meet
their needs. This will not only help to bring healing but also create an
environment for peace and reconciliation," said Bartlett.
    World Vision is continuing to call on Canada to support the government of
Sri Lanka in taking immediate steps to outline a durable peace process and
plan that addresses the root causes of the conflict, that works to empower
communities and local governance, and that helps restore basic services and
critical infrastructure.
    World Vision donors support more than 61,577 children in Sri Lanka,
including 17,500 children sponsored by Canadians. Sponsored children are not
in the conflict zone. World Vision began working in Sri Lanka in 1977.
    World Vision is accepting donations to help those affected by the
conflict. Those wishing to help can visit WorldVision.ca or call
1-800-268-5528.

    World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization
dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome
poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion,
race, ethnicity or gender.





For further information:

For further information: To interview World Vision staff, please
contact: Yoko Kobayashi, (905) 565-6200 ext. 2151, (416) 671-0086 (cell),
yoko_kobayashi@WorldVision.ca; Alex Sancton, (905) 565-6200 ext. 3979, (416)
419-1321 (cell), alex_sancton@WorldVision.ca


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