War over, daily battle begins
Fishermen are just one group whose livelihoods are on hold following Sri Lanka's war
Mr Kandaswamy used to have a home and a successful trading business. Now his home is gone, his business is ruined and Mr Kandaswamy is in a wheelchair after his lower legs were amputated following a landmine accident.
The dramatic changes to his life came when he moved his wife and three children to the Mullativu coast in the final months of Sri Lanka’s war last year. Up to 200,000 people fled their homes in the north of the country to escape the shelling and violence in the war zone.
Mr Kandaswamy’s daughter lost the sight in one eye when she was caught in the crossfire of the conflict. She needs care and treatment but her father no longer has any money. Mr Kandaswamy can no longer work because of his disability and he and his family desperately need any help they can get.
Caritas has provided the family with some vegetables and fish to help keep them in good health. Caritas has appealed for US$3.2 million to help the people of Sri Lanka. Money raised will provide food, water shelter, hygiene facilities, counselling and will support children in their schooling.
Mr Kandaswamy’s story highlights the serious difficulties of the people who have survived Sri Lanka’s war. Some people can no longer support their families because of serious injuries, others cannot return to farm the land they once owned because landmines still have to be cleared.
Meanwhile, restrictions on fishing mean that fishermen’s livelihoods are on hold and poor transport links mean that people who have returned to rural areas are isolated from markets and potential work.
The Sri Lankan Government is offering a resettlement package which includes a grant, building materials, seeds and help with planning for people who want to build a home.
However, for people such as Mr Kandaswamy, who can no longer walk down the street or work to support his family, the war has taken away much more than he can ever be given.