Million affected in Sri Lanka`s floods

More than a million people have been affected by flooding in Sri Lanka and at least 23 have died over a week of devastation that has severely hit the country.

Last Updated: Jan 13, 2011, 23:53 PM IST

Colombo: More than a million people have
been affected by flooding in Sri Lanka and at least 23 have
died over a week of devastation that has severely hit the
centre and east of the country, including areas already
destroyed by the civil war.

The devastation caused by the monsoon floods has
already hit over one million people across the country and
weather officials have painted a discouraging picture, saying
the scene could prevail.

Aid started trickling in from foreign governments and
international organisations with the UNICEF sending relief for
the displaced persons.

More than 325,000 persons have been left homeless in
recent flooding in Sri Lanka, Disaster Management Centre (DRC)
said today.

The DRC said the displaced people have been
accommodated at 591 temporary relief camps.

India will send a consignment of relief supplies for
the flood-hit people tomorrow, officials at the Indian high
commission said here.

The UNICEF has sent seven truck loads of assistance to
flood victims in the eastern province, once the theater of war
in Sri Lanka`s decades-old ethnic conflict.

"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," UNICEF
country representative, Reza Hossaini, said.

"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," he said.

The eastern province affected by the bloody civil war
for decades has been the worst affected. The eastern district
of Batticaloa, which saw bloody fighting in the country`s
ethnic conflict in 2009, was badly affected after heavier than
usual seasonal rains.

The government has deployed service personnel with
helicopters and naval boats to assist the flood victims.
Rs 139 million has been allocated so far for relief supplies
and operations.

The government has appealed to the people "to join
hands and help them (the victims) at this hour of need without
any discrimination or petty considerations."

Army, Navy and Air Force personnel are working around
the clock to provide water, food and shelter on a priority
basis to all flood victims.

Sri Lankan officials estimated the loss of around Rs
30 billion in recent flooding in the country.

PTI