This report covers the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011
In brief Programme outcome Through its community-based programmes, Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) is empowering people at grassroots level to adapt and cope with changing patterns of risks posed by climate change, extreme weather events and diseases as well as wider socio-economic changes. SLRCS is committed to delivering on the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Strategy 2020 aims. The focus of the IFRC 2011 programme has been on supporting its member National Society to translate this commitment into a stronger practical reality. To achieve this, the IFRC country office has been promoting best practices, which continue to evolve and improve, but have also been encouraging SLRCS to become more creative and innovative in the face of new challenges and opportunities. The outcomes of the 2011 programmes include:
• Stronger SLRCS grassroots structures, as they form an integral part of the communities where safety and resilience are promoted and supported.
• Refined operating procedures, protocols, systems, and management processes.
• Improved resource management practices, image and recognition of the National Society.
• A more prominent role of youth in SLRCS work.
• Improved skills and competencies of teams and individuals who are involved in preparing for and responding to disasters.
Sri Lanka is at a threshold of economic growth and development. Slogans such as ‘winning the economic war’ and making the nation ‘the wonder of Asia’ have been frequently used to describe the priority that economic development has received in recent years. Indeed, the economy rebounded, tourist arrivals leaped and Sri Lanka is now categorized as a middle income status country by the International Monetary Fund. Challenges, however, remain. Under nutrition, poverty, maternal health issues, lack of access to safe water and sanitation, re-emerging communicable diseases (such as dengue and HIV/AIDS) and non-communicable diseases, which account for 65 per cent of deaths (the single biggest cause of death) in Sri Lanka according to the World Health Organisation (WHO NCD profiles 2011). Wasting and stunting in children less than five years is at 15 per cent and 22 per cent respectively (DHS 2006/7), which, according to WHO standards, place Sri Lanka as a ‘high’ prevalence country in relation to malnutrition. A total of 22 per cent of newborns are reported with low birth weight (LBW). Alarmingly, the data analysis shows an increase in under-five mortality rates from the 2000 baselines that raise questions about the assumption that the trajectory of the 1990's has setback Sri Lanka in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Maternal under nutrition also remains high (at 23 per cent) and when the indicators are disaggregated by geographical regions, it emerges that certain vulnerable groups are not likely to meet the maternal and child health (MCH) and nutrition targets of the MDGs. Heavy flooding in January and February 2011 has seriously affected the already disadvantaged communities in the eastern, northern and central provinces. There is a huge task for reconstruction and recovery in conflict affected areas.