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Friday, January 14, 2011 - 04.39 GMT

Flash floods
UN to launch an emergency appeal


The UN will launch an appeal for emergency funds in the coming week to rally donors to support and expand ongoing national efforts to respond to important needs in flood-affected areas.

The United Nations agencies have stepped up their efforts in flood relief operations and support the government authorities in many ways to respond to growing humanitarian needs, the UN country team director Neil Buhne said.

"We are helping the Government to collect information on needs, which will be compiled into a flash appeal, to rally donors to support and expand ongoing national efforts to respond to important needs in flood-affected areas," he said.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator has expressed strong concern over the immediate requirements of the people affected, especially the most vulnerable including children.

"We will also look at the longer term effects from damage to agriculture, infrastructure, and housing," he added.

The UN's Children Fund, UNICEF said seven trucks packed with supplies it sent to support the flood victims have arrived in eastern Sri Lanka.

UNICEF's consignment has been handed over to local government officials who are working with the Sri Lankan military to distribute the relief items to the displaced.

The agency has provided most pressing needs to the devastated communities. The consignment has included 50 water tanks (1,000 litres each), water tablets able to purify two million litres of water, 7,000 tarpaulins, chlorine bleaching powder for equipment sterilising, 7,000 sleeping mats, 3,000 buckets, 30,000 bars of soap and cooking pots.

"More UNICEF consignments will meet emerging needs. It is planned to send family hygiene kits, thousands of sleeping mats for those displaced and more cooking equipment," the agency said in a statement.

UN's food agency, the World Food Programme (WFP) is providing emergency food assistance for some 400,000 flood-affected, totaling almost Rs. 55 million, the UN country team informed.

The World Health Program (WHO) is funding the operation of mobile medical clinics by the Ministry of Health. WHO has also supplied 60,000 water purification tablets and is working with the Ministry medical teams to control possible outbreak of disease in affected areas.

The UN pledged to continue to assist the government to respond to immediate needs based on ongoing rapid assessments, and to help communities recover from the impact of the flood once water recedes.

Meanwhile, the government has already disbursed Rs. 138 million so far to provide relief to the people affected by heavy rains and floods.

Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told a meeting in Ampara this morning that the government was doing everything possible to provide relief to the flood victims.

Currently over 1,081,800 people have been affected by the floods, with 23 deaths and 36 injured.

The Presidential Secretariat has opened a collection centre to receive relief material for the flood affected. Public could get more information by calling 0773721202/0773929292.







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Last modified: January 14, 2011.

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