Ravindra Satchivamandam, 40, had just got his paddy farm up and running again after it was destroyed by 2004’s tsunami. Then his life was turned upside down once more.
In 2006, his family was forced to flee when the army began heavy shelling to force out the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam from their part of eastern Sri Lanka. They left in just the clothes they were wearing at the time.
‘We ran from our house in the middle of the night. We dug a bunker in a field – it was about one metre wide and about three metres long.
‘We spent about three months there. We just lived in fear.
‘Then we started walking because the shelling moved. We have ended up here in this emergency camp.
‘We are struggling to get by. I can’t work or earn money, it is very hard because I am used to working. We have no money; we just take people’s handouts.
‘We cannot develop, we cannot grow. Every day our children ask us, “what can we eat?”
‘We have lost everything we worked for so how do we go on? It is very hard to cope with. There is no hope at this moment, there is nothing unless someone comes and helps us to with day-to-day things.’
Over the past two years, Christian Aid partner the Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation has been supporting families like Ravindra’s by building new houses, helping them back into work, providing clean water and sanitation facilities and offering trauma counselling.
Read more about the current crisis in Sri Lanka