Sri Lankan conflict prompts business actionJuly 2009
A clothing group and a leading bank are backing the relief effort to help 660,000 internal refugees in the wake of the Sri Lankan conflict.
Brandix Lanka, the large apparel company, which has already co-operated in boosting the water supply at Karambe Hospital in Puttalam district, is now working with the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, to provide water and sanitation for several communities that are being resettled.
Another UNHCR project to lay on drinking water in Kudumbimalai in the Batticaloa district will be supported by Brandix.
More companies are being urged to back the efforts. Amin Awad, the UNHCR representative in the country, said: ‘We hope Sri Lanka’s private sector will join in.’
The Bank of Ceylon is also going into affected areas – to provide banking services to internally displaced victims of the fighting who are living in camps.
It has established five branches in 40ft containers to provide online banking and cash dispensing machines, and seven vans are offering mobile services in other camps. Some of the staff employed are school leavers accommodated in the camps.
The bank has been finding close relatives and friends of the displaced people living overseas to pay money into the new accounts. In agricultural areas the bank is also offering low-interest loans with the central bank’s support.
It intends to add other types of humanitarian services, including education, sanitation and healthcare, to people still in the camps.
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