Posted Thursday June 18, 2015 by Hazel Durbridge

Yesterday my VSO boss came to visit me for the first and last time. It was extraordinary in its disjointed and chaotic -ness. I was supposed to be meeting her in her hotel. You have to arrive early to order food, so I got there at 6pm and she did not arrive until nearly 9pm, by which time my food had arrived and I had eaten it which she told me to do as she was delayed having waited to give someone else a lift.

VSO is supposed to be an enabling and modest organisation living alongside the community. She arrived as a whirlwind and had the hotel staff running round after her like headless chickens. She does not speak Tamil so there was lots of loud speaking in English that I found embarrassing as this is my beer drinking hotel and the staff are delightful. Anyway, she insisted on paying for me and offering me more drink, dessert – a bit like being with a mum or an indulgent relative. The conversation was nondescript. She was probably tired, but there was no sense of her having thought about what she was going to talk to me about, no reflections on my placement, no thoughtful questioning – I can ask myself better questions. Anyway, she insisted on her driver giving me and my bike a lift back in this semi mini bus. When we are in the van she rings him up to find her some strepsils. Batticaloa does not have 24/7 pharmacies or anywhere open at post 10pm. I found myself looking at him in disbelief, but he was obviously used to her.

This morning she was supposed to be coming with me to a meeting but it was cancelled. Not her fault. I got taken off to another meeting. She went to see the GA (so thankfully at least did a bit of useful networking) and then got back in the van for the 8+ hour journey back. Was it worth it? Really not. She did bring me a bottle of wine though bless her. I shall be sniffing that tonight.

Eccentric woman 2. My bl**dy landlady. I get home hot. Shower before bed. No water. The pump which has to be activated if the tap water does not work did not work. I had to go to sleep without. It turned out this morning she had switched it off from outside. Why? Because the older you get the nuttier you get about turning off taps. In fact it is even worse because your wrists are too frail to turn off taps so you get some physical hunk from next door to do it with the result that when you need it turned back on you need AN Other physical hunk to do it. Maybe it is an octogenarian ruse for male attention.


Water & Sanitation

The National Policy is to provide access to safe drinking water for all over the medium term. Access to water supply and sanitation facilities are regarded as one of the basic rights of the people in the country and are among the indicator of MDG No-7. The target was access to sufficient and safe drinking water to 85% of the population in Sri Lanka by 2010 and to 100% by 2015, at the same time, providing a piped water supply to 100% of the urban population by 2011.

The recent development projects implemented in the Batticaloa District supplies piped water to 32% of families out of 23.99% of urban populations. The objective of provision of sanitation services to the population of the country includes providing access to adequate sanitation to 75% of the population by 2011 & to 100% by 2025.

76.01% of the population of the District living in the rural areas are mainly dependant on the ground water table for their safe drinking water, but climate change and disasters are affecting the water sources. Families living in the rural areas are struggling to find safe drinking water annually.

In the District 57% of households are struggling to access improved water sources within 250m travelling distance.

Table 2.4 % of households in occupied housing units & main source of drinking water

Batticaloa Total households % Protected well Unprotected well Piped borne water Rural water supply project Tube well Bottled water River tank stream spring
  133,795 99.9 79.9 2.2 6.6 0.6 9.2 0.0 1.4

Source: Basic Housing Information by Districts 2012

In the District 53% of households, mostly in rural areas, are struggling to access improved sanitation facilities within premises.

Table 2.5 % of households in occupied housing units & toilet facilities

Batticaloa Total households % Exclusively for the household Sharing with another household No toilet but sharing with another household Common/ public toilet Not using a toilet
  133,795 99.9 73.9 8.0 5.2 0.3 12.6

Source: Basic Housing Information by Districts 2012

In 2011 2,887 wells were unprotected and 16,868 toilets needed to be constructed.

Batticaloa District Development Plan DRAFT 2013

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