In the spate of catastrophic floods wreaking havoc from Australia to Brazil, the biblical disaster afflicting Sri Lanka has not received the global attention it merits, The Economist said in an article published yesterday (17 Jan).
The death toll is still below 40. But in terms of the numbers of people displaced and farmland inundated, the floods have been even more devastating than the tsunami of December 2004, The Economist said.
A further hazard stems from the large number of landmines sown during Sri Lanka’s long civil war, which ended less than two years ago. The United Nations has warned that floodwaters might shift undetected mines and other explosives to areas thought safe, it said.
Now, as the floodwaters are beginning to recede, the need for relief supplies is huge. On January 20th the United Nations is to launch a “flash” appeal for assistance. If help is inadequate or given grudgingly, doubtless some in Sri Lanka will feel victimised, the report said.
The tsunami came during an uneasy ceasefire in the war with the Tigers. The distribution of aid became a contentious issue and actually contributed to the breakdown of the truce. This time, the hope must be it can held build a lasting peace, it concludes.
Full report at: