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Thousands displaced as torrential rains and floods hit Sri Lanka – UN

Jan 11, 2011 3:11:38 PM- transcurrents.com

Thousands of people people remain displaced because of flooding in Sri Lanka.

11 January 2011 – Floods caused by heavy rainfall in Sri Lanka have affected nearly a million people, including more than 127,000 displaced from their homes, the United Nations humanitarian office reported today, quoting figures provided by the Government.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has re-allocated funds to support the Government’s aid efforts, and will provide 735 metric tons of food assistance to feed approximately 400,000 of those affected, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Torrential rainfall has lashed the Indian Ocean island nation since 26 December, triggering floods and mudslides, mainly in the eastern and central parts of the country, with Batticaloa district in the east reported to have received the largest amount of precipitation in a century.

According to the Government’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC), the total number of affected people stands at nearly 863,800, including 13 deaths, one missing and 44 injured as of today. Roads in affected areas remain submerged, reducing access, OCHA reported.

Initial assessments in some of the affected areas over the past 24 hours have identified food, non-food items and water and sanitation services as priority needs.

Sri Lanka’s health ministry has sent five medical teams to the eastern and Polonnaruwa areas ready to control possible outbreaks of diseases, and to set up mobile medical clinics to assist internally displaced persons. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) will bear the cost of the mobile clinics.

In addition, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has been delivering water tanks and taps to the eastern region since the beginning of the flooding and is supporting further assessments. [UN News Centre – UN.org]