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Providing clean water to Sri Lanka's displaced

Sri Lanka, June 16, 2009

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Reuters/Louis Charbonneau, courtesy www.alertnet.org  </span>
    An armed Sri Lankan policeman stands guard behind Tamil families during U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's tour of the refugee camp called Manik Farm on the outskirts of the northern Sri Lankan town of Vavuniya in May 2009. Photo: Reuters/Louis Charbonneau, courtesy www.alertnet.org

Hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans are still living in densely populated camps following last month's end to the island's 26-year civil war.

Conditions in the camps are improving, but there's still not enough clean water and safe sanitation, according to the UN.

Mercy Corps is helping to fill these gaps by installing water-filtration systems — together with our local partner, ISB Services Limited — that will meet the daily drinking-water needs of 40,000 camp residents. ITT Watermark supplied the units.

We're also launching an effort to spread good hygiene habits to contain diseases such as typhoid, cholera and dengue fever. The oncoming monsoon season heightens the risk of disease spreading through the camps, and children are among the most vulnerable.

Donors gave generously online to get this emergency project off the ground. But we still need your help to do more.

Additional funding would allow us to build emergency latrines to restore a sense of dignity to the lives of camp residents, and to further guard against the spread of deadly diseases.

Eventually, our focus will turn to families who'll need our help to recover what they've lost and rebuild their lives. Thank you for standing with them in this time of need.