Due to decades of war, economic development in Sri Lanka has been restricted, in addition to the many fatalities every year. Sri Lanka is ranked 76th out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index and with the conflict recently ending there are finally genuine hopes that the general situation will improve.
On 26th December 2004, Sri Lanka was struck by one of the worst natural disasters of the century. An undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean created a powerful tsunami that killed tens of thousands of people, and destroyed houses and infrastructure. Many of those who survived found that they lost everything they had; in some cases family members, houses and all means of earning a livelihood.
Islamic Relief began working in Sri Lanka in response to the 2004 Tsunami , focusing on Ampara, one of Sri Lanka’s worst affected districts, providing emergency food to survivors. The attention quickly turned to helping people recover from the devastation, and a few weeks later, Islamic Relief engineers began building temporary shelters and digging wells to meet the needs of the people whose lives had been utterly destroyed.
Following the emergency phase, the focus turned to long term sustainable development projects, through the building of permanent homes in Kalmunai Tamil and helping people recover their livelihoods and thus return to being able to support themselves. In addition to the above activities, one-to-one orphan sponsorship program was launched in Sri Lanka to support the many children that became orphans due to the Tsunami.