Sri Lanka: UN agencies continue relief efforts in flood-hit north

2 December 2008
Displaced Sri Lankans at a camp in the east of the country

United Nations relief officials are continuing to assist authorities in the conflict-wracked north of Sri Lanka respond to flooding that has displaced more than 70,000 people and affected 300,000 others.

A UN inter-agency assessment of civilian needs in Northern province’s Jaffna district – the district hardest hit by the floods – has been carried out, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today.

In Jaffna alone, about 62,000 people have been forced to flee their homes because of the floods, which followed days of heavy rains, and are now living in nearly 250 separate camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). More than 5,900 houses have been badly damaged and another 13,300 are partially damaged.

OCHA said the number of Sri Lankans known to be affected by the floods continues to grow as some areas were previously inaccessible and new information is being received.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are among the UN agencies already distributing relief supplies or coordinating assistance.

Relief operations in northern Sri Lanka are complicated by the ongoing violence in the region between Government forces and members of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).


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