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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 109

United Nations supports Sri Lanka flood response

New York: 21 January, (Asiantribune.com): United Nations in a statement highlighted that the recent floods and landslides and various small- to medium-scale disasters in Sri Lanka over the past few years have brought back into focus the fact that Sri Lanka is a disaster-prone country. However, the mechanisms put in place after the tsunami is proving to be effective in dealing with such disasters.

Furthermore, United Nations in a statement pointed out that it is undertaking a number of initiatives to support the Government of Sri Lanka in response to recent flooding and landslides that have struck Hambantota, Ampara and Nuwara Eliya districts on the Southern/Eastern slopes and Central Hills of the country.

The full text of the statement released by the United Nations is given below:

The United Nations is undertaking a number of initiatives to support the Government of Sri Lanka in response to recent flooding and landslides that have struck Hambantota, Ampara and Nuwara Eliya districts on the Southern/Eastern slopes and Central Hills of the country.

These activities complement the effective and coordinated response by the Government of Sri Lanka to the disaster, which has saved many lives and rendered fewer people homeless. A total of 18 people died and more than 30,500 people were affected in the two worst districts of Nuwara Eliya and Hambantota.

In support of the Government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has fast tracked the landslide mitigation and hazard mapping programme to minimise future potential landslides and impacts. The UNDP has committed to secure $100,000 for mitigation of floods and liaises with the 24/7 unit of the government Disaster Management Centre. Together with the United Nations, the Government of Sri Lanka is organizing assessments for the next stage, which will concentrate on flood mitigation.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) handed over non-food relief items worth more than $64,000 (7 million rupees) to the Government Agent in Nuwara Eliya, at the request of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, which is coordinating the relief effort. The items included bed sheets, towels, lanterns, kitchen utensils, and water storage containers, as well as essential health items requested by the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition. The UNICEF also sent relief items to 2,000 families affected by floods in the Hambantota district as a part of its immediate response. Support will continue in the areas of health, education, and water and sanitation.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) donated 100 tents for flood assistance to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights. In November, UNHCR gave a large contingency stock which included kitchen utensils, plastic mats, bed sheets, towels, laundry soap, toilet soap, and plastic cups to the Ministry.

Officers of the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) district units are coordinating with the Government agencies and other relevant agencies to minimize further damage. DMC coordinators and teams have been deployed to the affected areas. They are coordinating immediate restoration and recovery and relief activities with the government agencies, military forces, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs) and local authorities for response. The Ministry of Relief Services is providing food and non food relief supplies to the affected communities.

The recent floods and landslides and various small- to medium-scale disasters in Sri Lanka over the past few years have brought back into focus the fact that Sri Lanka is a disaster-prone country. However, the mechanisms put in place after the tsunami are proving to be effective in dealing with such disasters.

- Asian Tribune -

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