Humanitarian emergency persists as more floods ravage Sri Lanka – UN

8 February 2011

Fresh floods have hit Sri Lanka just weeks after large swathes of the South Asian island nation were inundated by a deluge caused by torrential rainfall, the United Nations reported today, saying that over a million people already weakened by the initial flooding are affected.

Those affected include nearly 200,000 people who have been displaced and have sought shelter in 703 temporary evacuation centres in 15 districts, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an update, quoting official estimates.

UN agencies and their partners have continued to respond to the humanitarian needs, which include food, shelter material, medical supplies, educations services and other basic items.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said it distributed food aid to 326,000 people last weekend and is aiming to feed half a million of those affected. The agency provided rations to 500,000 people affected by the first wave of floods in five districts last month, WFP spokesperson Emilia Casella told reporters in Geneva.

The floods have claimed the lives of 14 people, caused injury to nine, while two others are listed as missing.

Flood waters have inundated fields causing widespread destruction in rice plantations, as well as to other crops in communities where farming is the main source livelihood.

People have been venturing back to their homes as the flood waters recede, but more rainfall is expected, OCHA reported. The torrential rains have also affected aid delivery with many roads still submerged or damaged.

Donors have, as of today, provided $8.4 million of the $51 million requested by humanitarian agencies last month to respond to the flood crisis. The appeal will be revised at the end of this month, according to OCHA.

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UN agencies provide additional assistance as further floods hit Sri Lanka

United Nations agencies are providing additional support to the Government of Sri Lanka in its efforts to respond to fresh floods, amidst existing efforts to help hundreds of thousands of people affected by earlier flooding that followed unusually heavy rainfall during the past two months.