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Tuesday, February 08, 2011 - 4.48 GMT

Presidential Task Force to rebuild flood-hit areas
UN to revise Flash Appeal


A Presidential Task Force will be set up within the next few days to rehabilitate the areas affected by floods.

The Task Force will comprise representatives from all relevant Ministries in rebuilding community life.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the SLFP Central Committee presided by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday (7 Feb).

The government has allocated a further 70 million rupees to provide relief to those affected by floods.

The Ministry of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing & Common Amenities has launched a programme to reconstruct approximately 10, 000 destroyed houses in affected districts, under the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. A donation of each Rs.50, 000 will be given to Samurdhi Families, affected by the natural disaster.

Meanwhile, the United Nations yesterday said it will revise its Flash Appeal of US$ 51 million in emergency funding at the end of this month in accordance with needs of both flood events.

Underscoring the vital need for international support to the crisis, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Neil Buhne said the impact on people of this second wave of floods is even greater as peoples' capacity to cope with the disaster has already diminished.

The UN in January launched a flash appeal to raise US$ 51 million in emergency funds to cover the immediate needs of more than one million people affected by the first round of floods.

The UN said its agencies are responding to the assessment of DMC on the floods and landslide situation in affected districts to determine the extent and location of damages as well as immediate relief needs for non-food items, food, and drinking water.

Despite the inaccessibility to affected areas, the UN said its agencies are with a wide range of supplies.

According to the Office of the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (OCHA) the World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed 340 metric tons of food sufficient for six days to about 192,000 people in Batticaloa, Ampara, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa districts.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) had provided tents and shelter materials to the flood victims in the Eastern Province.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) is assisting the Health Ministry to ensure medical response in Batticaloa, Polonnaruwa, and Kalmunai, and is currently assessing urgent health needs in other flood-affected areas, the OCHA said.

Pakistan President sends sympathies

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari yesterday called President Mahinda Rajapaksa and expressed his deep sympathies and concerns over the devastation caused by the floods.

He said that the government and the people of Pakistan could relate to the sufferings and miseries of their Sri Lankan brothers and sisters as they suffered the same natural calamity a few months ago. The President also expressed his sympathies for the victims of the floods and assured all support of the government and the people of Pakistan for the Sri Lankan flood victims in this hour of distress.

No disease outbreak so far - MOH

There has been no major outbreak of disease so far in areas badly hit by floods, an official of the Ministry of Health said, adding they are keeping a close eye on the situation.

But there is always the risk. We need to constantly monitor the situation, he added.

The Ministry has sent more medical teams to the flood-affected areas. A Special Health Protection Program has been formulated by the Ministry to ensure the health of the affected.

Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry had distributed a circular to all regional health officials instructing them on preventive measures. The Unit also advises regional officials to take the lead in monitoring the health situation following the floods, and to coordinate with the Unit and Disaster Management Center (DMC).

According to the latest statistics from the Disaster Management Center (DMC) of Sri Lanka, as of noon Monday, 1, 223,052 people from 326,230 families in 18 districts have been affected by the floods and landslide threats.

Eleven deaths have been reported so far while 3 have been reported as missing.

A total of 311,281people have been displaced by the floods and they have been given shelter in 744 government-run shelters.

1,813 houses have been extensive damage while 11,471 houses have been partially damaged, the Disaster Management Center further stated.

All schools in the North Central Province are closed Monday and Tuesday due to prevailing bad weather conditions, the government said. All the schools in Trincomalee and Batticaloa districts will be closed for three days from today.

Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Puttalam, Monaragala, Ampara, Batticaloa, Mannar and Trincomalee districts are the worst affected areas due to floods.

Landslides in central hill region have made some roads impassable. The main Nuwara Eliya - Gampola - Kandy road has been closed.






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Last modified: February 08, 2011.

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