Monday, January 17, 2011

UN calls for emergency aid for Sri Lanka

The United Nations is asking for emergency aid money from donor governments to help with the flooding in Sri Lanka. The flooded areas have a lot of people that have already lost everything once before in the tsunami of 2004. 390,000 people had to flee their homes to avoid being swept away by the flooding.

From the Guardian, this Associated Press article provides more details on the latest natural disaster.

The death toll continued to rise as flooding swamped areas in the east of the country, leaving hundreds of people homeless. At least 37 people had been confirmed dead by this afternoon, and the cost of the floods has been estimated at £315m.

Medical units have been sent to the area to help those who have sought shelter in crowded relief camps. The government sent military helicopters to distribute aid and used transport aircraft to move aid from the capital, Colombo. However, only six tonnes of aid was moved yesterday, according to the country's Daily Mirror newspaper.

Four camps have been set up to help flood victims and reports said troops had been deployed to distribute food and medical supplies. India sent a plane loaded with food supplies as well as blankets and water purification tablets. The US said it was sending aid and has supplied boats to rescue the stranded and distribute bottled water, cooking materials and tarpaulins.

The floods followed heavy rainfall in the east of the country.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Neil Buhne said an appeal would follow shortly. "I urge donors to generously support priority needs such as mosquito nets, clean water and food," he said.

Ten more people were reported dead today and at least 12 more are missing and 49 injured. The worst hit district was Batticaloa, where 18 deaths were reported.

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