Additional information
Praying with Refugees in Sri Lanka
01 May 2012

More than 6,000 people from 1,800 families in 'welcome centers' have yet to be released, and education of children has suffered three to five years of setback. (Jesuit Refugee Service)
(Vavuniya) May 1, 2012 — Sri Lanka concluded its war on May 18, 2009. It is estimated that more than 300,000 were forcibly displaced, having lost almost everything during the conflict, and between 40,000 –140,000 were killed in the final phase of the war alone.

The war created about 89,000 widows in northern and eastern Sri Lanka. Those who escaped death, about 300,000 people, were incarcerated in nearby 'welfare centers.' An unprecedented humanitarian crisis developed in the centers. Sustained pressure from the international community forced the government to initiate the process of release and resettlement of IDPs from September 2009 onwards. More than 6,000 people from 1,800 families in these centers have yet to be released.

Families have lost breadwinners; breadwinners have been incapacitated or are in detention. Loss of houses, properties and livelihoods has been massive. The majority of people struggle to keep home fires burning. Education of children has suffered three to five years of setback. Threats to their homelands, language and culture, and safety are numerous. Yet, the resilience of the people and their undying hope in God empower them during their 'exodus.'

Suggested Reading for Prayer

Isaiah 58:5-8

Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

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