Setting up UN Offices Back in Post-War Zone in Northern Sri Lanka

08 April 2010

Setting up office is always an arduous task, especially so when you are returning to a war torn area. In Sri Lanka, humanitarian agencies are doing just that. They were asked to leave the Northern region of the Vanni in September 2008 as their safety could no longer be guaranteed during the battle between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka.

Truck unloading.Now that the battle has ended and considerable numbers of IDPs have returned from the camps to their villages in the Vanni, agencies’ operations in the area are stepping up and they need a place to work and overnight. 

CompoundAs many agencies’ offices are no longer inhabitable or are currently in use by government bodies or armed forces, a temporary solution had to be found. This is where the Logistics Cluster comes in. Led by WFP, the Logistics Cluster was the first to set up office again in the town of Kilinochchi in the Vanni. A temporary Inter-agency Compound was to be set up in this office space. The WFP compound in Kilinochchi with its ruined buildings was plotted and agencies were allotted space for placement of containers. To date, UNOPS, UNOCHA, UNDSS, UNICEF, UNHCR and WFP have set up shop at the compound. Common space is available for other agencies in need of office and/or accommodation space for a short-term period. An Inter-agency Logistics Base is to follow suit soon. Kilinochchi is back in business!

By Ingrid van Beuzekom, Logistics Cluster