Sri Lanka UN launches 50 million appeal for growing mass of displaced

The number of people seeking shelter in makeshift government camps rose from 65,000 to almost 190,000 in just a few days following a mass exodus from the conflict zone when government forces breached the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) defences on 20 April. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that around 50,000 people remain trapped in the conflict zone, a shrinking pocket of land on the north-east coast line.“It’s a critical time,” stressed UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sri Lanka Neil Buhne. “Around a quarter of under 5 year-olds in the camps are under-nourished, and they need immediate help. Tens of thousands more civilians are expected to come from the remaining zone.” The appeal to fund emergency relief aid targets the most urgent humanitarian needs for an estimated 250,000 people, including food, water, sanitation, shelter, nutrition, health and protection, as well as educational requirements for thousands of children who have been without schooling for months during the escalating conflict.Last week, hundreds of people who had escaped the fighting more than a year ago returned home last week to the Mannar district and the appeal includes agricultural and economic projects to support similar returns. The Government says that it intends to return 80 per cent of the displaced to their homes by the end of 2009. The $50 million appeal for immediate relief and recovery efforts is an adjusted figure extracted from the Common Humanitarian Action Plan request for $155 million, launched in March in anticipation of the evolving humanitarian crisis. Less than one third of that appeal has been funded.Meanwhile, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he spoke to President Mahinda Rajapaksa today and called for a pause in the fighting to allow humanitarian workers into the conflict zone.“This would allow more desperately needed aid, above all food and medicines, to get in,” Mr. Ban told reporters in New York. “It will save lives.”He also urged Government authorities to avoid the use of artillery and heavy weaponry in the conflict zone. “I have also appealed to the LTTE to let civilians go and stop forced recruitment,” he added.“Protecting civilians and respecting international humanitarian law, must be priority one. The world is watching events closely, including for violations of international law.” 5 May 2009The United Nations and Government of Sri Lanka today announced the launch of a $50 million appeal to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the rising number of desperate civilians fleeing the fighting in the north between the army and Tamil separatist rebels. read more

Packed lineup for National Coop Week at Brock

The benefits of and opportunities available through co-operative education at Brock will be highlighted during a weeklong celebration on campus.The University’s Co-op Education Office is inviting students, staff and faculty to participate in a range of activities set for National Co-op Week from March 20-24.Run by the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE), the celebration will offer new activities on campus each day.Julia Zhu, Brock’s Associate Director of Co-op Education, said the event is intended to encourage students to show their “Brock co-op pride,” while also providing a greater understanding of all things co-op at the University.“The activities of the week offer a great way to get acquainted with other students in the program as well as with the Co-op Education team. Beyond the excitement of the group activities and the prizes that go with them, students are also encouraged to reflect on their own journeys at Brock,” Zhu said.Over the past three years, National Co-op Week at Brock has grown from a few small events to a packed weeklong celebration that includes the Co-op Success Stories Lunch & Learn, the Business Card Draw and the presentation of the Co-op Student of the Year Award.The on-campus events are complemented by social media challenges from CAFCE and the Co-op Education Office. Prizes will be awarded daily to randomly drawn students who have completed the challenges.With similar National Co-op Education Week celebrations taking place on campuses across Canada, Zhu is confident Brock’s festivities will be well attended.“We want our students to participate and have a strong showing. We strive to be a leader in co-op education, and the events of this week showcase that,” she said.National Co-op Week activitiesMonday, March 20 CareerZone On The Go — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the top of the Computer Commons rampTuesday, March 21Co-op Success Stories Lunch & Learn — noon to 1 p.m., ST103Wednesday, March 22 Business Card Draw — 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., MC A336Accounting Alumni Networking Event — Only for students in the ACTG 0N90 classThursday, March 23Co-op Comment Card — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., MC A336Co-op Student of the Year Award Presentation — 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Cairns AtriumFriday, March 24 Tweet For a Treat — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., MC A336Visit brocku.ca/co-op-education-week for a full description of each activity. read more