For Immediate Release
Significant Humanitarian Needs Emerge as People Start to Return to Their Homes in Flood-Affected Sri Lanka
Lanka but the humanitarian challenge has only just begun, international
aid agency Oxfam said today.
The heavy rains have now subsided and flood waters are beginning to
recede, but the significant damage the disaster has wrought means people
will need continued support to re-build their lives.
More than a million people have been affected
in the flood which has also resulted in significant damage to crops,
livestock and infrastructure. Some 300,000 acres of paddy has been
affected and thousands of houses and irrigation tanks damaged. Oxfam
urged donors to respond generously to the UN flash appeal, which
launches later this week.
Oxfam Program Manager in Batticaloa,
Subathra Yogasingham, says, “This is the worst natural disaster that Sri
Lanka has faced since the 2004 tsunami. The challenges are immense.
Even though the weather seems to have improved, there are hundreds of
thousands of families that still need support. People have been severely
affected and many of their basic needs are yet to be met, they will
also need significant help to re-build their homes and re-start their
Saundarajah Parvathy, 45, who was affected by the
flood, returned to her home, in Mahilavaduvvan village in Batticaloa
West, but found that it had been destroyed by the flood water. She told
“I lost everything-groceries, cooking utensils and
clothes. There are snakes in my house and my paddy field is under water.
I will have to go back and stay at the government welfare camp for a
few more days at least. I don’t know what I will do. I will probably
have to work as a casual labourer in order to earn some money.”
Oxfam has been supporting flood-affected communities in Sri Lanka
since the start of the disaster. Oxfam and partners are currently
reaching more than 17,000 people with non-food items, food and water
assistance, hygiene kits, mosquito nets, mats and tarpaulins. Oxfam will
be massively scaling up its response to the disaster in the next few
days to reach 120,000 people in the Eastern and North Central Provinces.
Alternatively, please consider making a donation to the general emergency fund of your nearest national Oxfam affiliate. Your money will be used to fund our emergency work worldwide, which includes responding in countries such as Sri Lanka.
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Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.