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Posts Tagged ‘Global Floods Update’

Flood Mega Disasters – Sri Lanka

Posted by feww on January 18, 2011

Disease, hunger and landmines threaten flood-stricken Sri Lankans: UN

Sri Lanka Flood Facts

  • Reported death toll: 40 [The actual figure may be much higher]
  • Number of injured: 51 [The actual figure may be much higher]
  • Number of people displaced: At least 400,000
  • Number of people affected: 1.5 million
  • Floods have submerged as much as a third of the country’s rice paddies destroying at least 21 percent of Sri Lanka’s total of 570,000 hectare.
  • At least 14 of the Pacific island’s 25 districts were inundated
  • The flooded areas experienced their heaviest rainfall since 1917, according to Sri Lanka’s Meteorological Department
  • Floodwaters may have dislodged tens of thousands of buried landmines, which were planted during the civil war with Tamil Tigers.
  • About 5,400 homes have been destroyed by floods and a further 22,000 damaged.

As nearly half a million Sri Lankans displaced by floods begin to return home they face risks from waterborne diseases, hunger and landmines,  a UN official said.

Widespread flooding caused by “the heaviest rains in a century,” has affected more than a million people and forced about 400,000 to flee their homes and seek refuge in hundreds of relief camps.

“Many of those hit by the flooding are farming families who have seen their crops wiped out.” Said a report.

“A lot of people affected were quite poor to start with and now they don’t have much, so there is a serious need to support them when they move back,” he United Nation’s humanitarian coordinator in Sri Lanka told AlertNet.

“We are particularly concerned about food as these communities are pretty vulnerable and their food stocks have been destroyed so their usual source of income won’t be a source of income for a while.”

Floods have destroyed at least 21 percent of Sri Lanka’s staple rice crop since Dec. 26, the Agriculture Ministry has said.

Widespread floods have inundated 14 of the Pacific  island’s 25 districts, “with the worst hit being Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee on the east coast, where the majority of people have been affected.” The report said.

At Risk from Landmines

The U.N. team in Sri Lanka is concerned that floodwaters have dislodged tens of thousands of buried landmines, which were planted during the civil war with Tamil Tigers.

“There is an issue that some of the flooding may have dislodged UXOs (Unexploded Ordnance) and mines that had been under the surface or buried in river banks and which weren’t considered a risk as they were under the surface and now they will be a risk.” The UN coordinator said.

“The government is looking at re-surveying some areas to examine the level of damage and we are hoping to step up mine risk education.”

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