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Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 05.27 GMT

Floods recede
Authorities to assess needs


Flood waters that brought severe destruction to the country have begun to recede as the rains have remained moderate over the last few days.

According to the latest statistics from the Disaster Management Center (DMC), the floods in the North Central and Eastern provinces and landslides in the Central Province have claimed 38 lives with 4 missing and injuring another 51 persons.

As of Monday noon, the DMC reported that a total of 1,073,895 from 285,659 families have been affected by the deluge. However, as the flood waters recede people have started to return home and only 51,423 displaced people remained in 137 camps.

The recent report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued Sunday said the agencies have completed more than 60 rapid needs assessments in the 12 flood-affected districts to understand initial emergency needs.

The agency says as the floods-affected return to their homes they will have significant humanitarian needs to rebuild their homes and to resume their lives.

Among the non-food items needed urgently, some key needs include cooking sets, mosquito nets and coils, lamps, towels, bedding, clothing and sleeping mats.

The Government is planning a comprehensive post-disaster needs assessment once the situation stabilizes.

According to the UN organization, 98 percent of over 175,000 inundated homes (in accessible areas) have sustained damages. Although some of these houses may be repairable, at the moment structural damage and wholesale destruction of basic living equipment will make occupancy hazardous in many locations, the OCHA noted.

A Flash Appeal to support the mobilization of humanitarian assistance towards the flood affected and displaced population is anticipated to be launched on Thursday, 20 January 2011, the OCHA reported.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry yesterday dispatched 10 medical teams to the Eastern Province to prevent any possible outbreak of epidemics.

In addition, special medical teams sent from Ampara, Batticaloa, Polonnaruwa and Trincomalee hospitals are now serving at welfare camps. Earlier the Ministry sent 75 PHIs from Colombo to Batticaloa and 45 PHIs to flood affected areas in the North Central Province.

The officers are keeping a vigil on medical facilities and food given to the flood victims and supervise them on a daily basis.

The Public Health Unit of the Ministry obtains a daily report on health condition at welfare camps to monitor possible outbreak of epidemics.

Meanwhile, the German Government donated Euro 25,000 million worth of food and drinking water as humanitarian aid to those affected by floods in several Provinces of Sri Lanka. Two German Agencies - Malteser International and Arbeiter-Samariterund are already in the flood-hit areas dispensing flood-relief activities.

“Germany, as in the past, is glad to be of assistance to Sri Lanka in this hour of need. “It is my fervent wish however that Sri Lanka will soon recover from this tragedy,” German Ambassador Jens Ploetner said.

The Iranian Red Crescent Society announced on Monday that it is prepared to assist and provide humanitarian aid for the disaster-stricken and flood-hit people in Sri Lanka, FARS News Agency reported. The International Committee of the Red Cross has already called on the world countries for assistance and humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka. Also, Head of Iran's Red Crescent Society Abolhassan Faqih in separate messages to his Sri Lankan counterpart expressed his condolences to the country’s population and government over the deaths during the devastating floods.

Meanwhile, ChildFund New Zealand is asking New Zealanders to contribute to an emergency appeal to support Sri Lanka’s children and families whose livelihoods have been devastated by floods. New Zealanders sponsor more than 1,200 children across Sri Lanka including Trincomalee district which has experienced severe flooding, New Zealand’s Scoop Independent News reports.






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Last modified: January 18, 2011.

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