UNICEF tackles needs of Sri Lankan flood victims
COLOMBO, 17January 2011 – Two consignments of UNICEF supplies have arrived in eastern Sri Lanka, to support the million people affected by massive flooding.
Government reports state 27 people have killed, 47 injured and more than 367,000 displaced by the floods.
UNICEF’s consignments have been handed over to local government officials who are working with the Sri Lankan military in order to distribute badly-needed goods to the displaced.
UNICEF Sri Lanka Representative, Reza Hossaini, said: “In recent years these communities have suffered major blows; many of them have been caught up in years of conflict, in the wake of the 2004 tsunami and now these floods.
“Many families were only just returning home after years of displacement. They were rebuilding their lives, children were returning to their community schools and now they all face this latest severe setback.”
UNICEF has addressed one of the pressing priorities, the need for safe water and hygiene. The first consignment 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.
A second consignment was shipped on Friday to meet emerging needs, comprising of 4,961 hygiene kits (washing kits to last a family of five a month including towels, soap, toothpaste, washing powder), 10,000 plastic buckets, 15,000 sleeping mats, and 150 community cooking pots (150 litre capacity).
Preceeded by more than a week of intense wet weather, five days of non-stop heavy raining since the weekend have turned part of eastern Sri Lanka into a lake. The Batticaloa and Ampara districts are particularly badly hit.
Children are among the most vulnerable in these floods. Many cannot swim and some are too fragile to fend for themselves.
This consignment of UNICEF support is part of a wider Government and UN effort to support the affected communities. As most roads are impassable by vehicle, the Sri Lankan military is using boats to deliver much-needed aid. The UN is preparing to launch an emergency fund-raising appeal.
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