Update: March 8, 2018, 12:48 p.m. ET
The local government in Kandy has lifted the daytime curfew after no additional incidents of violence were reported overnight in theadministrative district. As a precautionary measure, the curfew is still in place during the evening hours. This allowed IFSA students to attend class at the ISLE program center, and staff are hopeful that a pre-planned event at a Buddhist meditation retreat south of Kandy will proceed as scheduled on Friday, March 9.
The State of Emergency will remain place through next week and the limitations on social media access will remain for at least the next few days. Phone and internet access are functional. IFSA has asked all students to remain at their host family home this weekend and forgo any independent travel plans to ensure their safety.
IFSA Resident Director Phil Friedrich reported local authorities have made several arrests as a result of the recent violence. We will continue to monitor the situation, remain in contact with our staff at the ISLE program center and provide updates as needed.
Update: March 7, 2018
After continued violence overnight in villages neighboring Kandy, the local government has initiated some additional measures to quell the violence. A new curfew for the Kandy administrative district will go into effect at 4 p.m. (March 7, local time) and will remain in effect until at least until 4 p.m. on March 8. Additionally, the government has placed a restriction on some social media sites and communication lines (namely Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and Viber). Email and phone service are still functional at this time.
There have been no reports of violence in the city of Kandy or near the ISLE program center, University of Peradeniya or host family homes. IFSA Resident Director Phil Friedrich traveled into Kandy today and reported that streets are quiet and rather empty of people, and shops and businesses are closed.
As a result of the curfew, classes at the ISLE program center have been cancelled for March 8, and students are expected to stay in their host family homes while the curfew is in effect. Students have been notified that any planned independent travel outside of Kandy will not be permitted this weekend.
Please note that communication with IFSA students may be somewhat limited or delayed at this time. IFSA’s Health and Safety team, located in Indianapolis, is in constant communication with our staff on the ground in Sri Lanka and will continue to provide updates on any significant events.
All IFSA students on the ISLE program remain unaffected and are in good spirits. The main impact on the students has been to their mobility, due to the curfews and lack of transportation, and lack of access to social media. At this time, the measures put in place by the local government have effectively prevented any violence from spilling over into Kandy.
Updates regarding today’s events can be found here:
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 6, 2018
Episodes of racially-motivated violence occurred in the Kandy administrative district over the weekend. The disputes have taken place between Sinhalese and Muslim populations primarily in the town of Digana, about 20 km (12 miles) east of Kandy. A State of Emergency has been declared in the area and is expected to last 10 days. The State of Emergency was put in place to allow police and armed forces to effectively mobilize if needed and prevent further violence.
According to our on-site Resident Director Phil Friedrich, life in Kandy (city) has not been affected. IFSA students are attending classes and participating in program events as scheduled. All IFSA students have been informed about recent events and advised to avoid Digana and the surrounding area at this time. As a precautionary measure, IFSA students will be provided with transportation to and from the ISLE program center while the State of Emergency is in effect.
IFSA and ISLE resident staff spend considerable time discussion safety and security with students during the mandatory program orientation and throughout the semester. Students are given an emergency phone number for our resident staff and our emergency assistance provider, who are available 24/7 in the event of a true emergency. Students are also instructed to submit any travel plans to our resident staff should they leave their program city overnight.
We will continue to closely monitor security events in Kandy and provide you with relevant updates as needed. If you would like more information, please see the following media outlets: