COLOMBO, Dec. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Social stigma, depression among widowers,
increased alcohol use among teenagers are all highlighted in "people's
consultations" with Sri Lanka's tsunami survivors, the United Nations
Development Program said here Wednesday in a press release.
The consultations were carried out by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka,
UNDP and the University of Colombo in 1,100 villages in the 13 tsunami-affected
districts in the island.
The dialogues highlight that more women than men perished in the disaster,
leaving an unprecedented number of widowers suffering from depression and
Many husbands who lost their wives on Dec. 26 last year find it difficult
to look after young children while also being the sole breadwinners for their
The research also reveals an increase of alcohol consumption among men and
teenage boys, large numbers of absenteeism and a high number of dropouts
recorded in schools in affected districts since the tsunami.
Some of the people affected by the tsunami are suffering from social stigma
and the relationships among neighbors, relatives and friends have seen drastic
changes, said the release.
"The initiative has been invaluable not only in identifying the needs of
people affected by the tsunami and in informing them of their rights and duties,
it has also provided the space for some of the most vulnerable people in the
various communities to participate in the recovery and reconstruction of their
own lives and livelihoods," said Sanaka Samarasinha, the deputy country director
The research finds that information sharing between the local communities
and those involved in the recovery activities were vital to ensure the success
of the rebuilding.
"The government and others involved in relief, rehabilitation and recovery require people's participation in order to make correct judgment about related policies and mechanisms," said Lakshman Dissanayake, director of the Colombo University Extension Center. Enditem