Sri Lanka

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CRS in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka continues to recover from a decades-long war and the devastating effects of recurrent natural disasters, including the 2004 tsunami. Catholic Relief Services' work in the country has focused on rebuilding after natural disasters and on helping those displaced by war. The conflict left thousands of people with no food, home or way to rebuild their lives. When the war ended, the government provided shelter to more than 300,000 displaced people in camps. Partnering with Caritas, CRS funded food, medical care and more to camp residents. CRS also provides artificial limbs to the many people who lost limbs in the war. Through all its programs, CRS works to foster better relationships among peoples and communities to ensure a lasting peace in Sri Lanka.  


People Served: 3,142 

Population: 22,053,488 (July 2015 est.)

Size: 25,332 sq mi; about the size of West Virginia

CRS' History in Sri Lanka

Through our partner Caritas, CRS began assisting the people of Sri Lanka in 1994 from its office in India. In 2001, CRS began sponsoring the National Peace Program through Caritas. This initiative was designed to bring together people from across the ethnic and religious divides in an effort to ease tensions that have been at the roots of the civil war. CRS immediately responded to the December 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with Caritas Sri Lanka and Jesuit Refugee Services, and as part of the Caritas Internationalis confederation. Through these partnerships, CRS provided rehabilitation assistance to tsunami victims throughout the country.

The civil war in Sri Lanka between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam escalated in 2006, and the number of internally displaced people rose sharply. In 2009, when the war came to an end, CRS and our partners created return and resettlement programs for the displaced people. Through Caritas, CRS also helps provide prosthetics to victims of the war and helps farm workers exploited on tea plantations.