The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Food for Peace (FFP) programme last week signed a $1.5 million grant agreement to help more than 22,000 flood victims in eastern Sri Lanka.
Under the agreement, USAID – the development agency of the U.S. Government – will assist flood victims by paying them to repair small-scale infrastructure, such as irrigation canals, water tanks and roads. The cash-for-work activities will not only increase beneficiaries’ purchasing power, helping them to buy food for their families but will also fix damage caused by the floods, restoring services and livelihoods. This new agreement complements USAID’s February 2011 contribution of $416,300 for food assistance to WFP’s flood response operation in eastern Sri Lanka.
James Bednar, Mission Director, USAID Sri Lanka said, “The crop destruction created by the recent floods took a toll on the food security and livelihoods of the people, and severely affected casual labour opportunities leaving these families with fewer means to meet their needs. Through this grant, we will help identify a sustainable solution to food insecurity, secure livelihoods of farmers and resume economic activities in areas affected by the floods. In a longer-term, we hope this approach will contribute to the rehabilitation of the infrastructure and assets that are needed to achieve sustainable food security”.
Recently, the US Government, through USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), also provided $800,000 to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation to help restore livelihoods of some 40,000 flood-affected farmers and improve food security of the most vulnerable households in the Eastern Province. Under the grant, flood-affected farmers are receiving rice paddy and other field crop seeds to plant during the dry agricultural season, while households are receiving seed packets to replant home gardens destroyed by floods. In addition, OFDA provided nearly $800,000 to two local organisations, to strengthen food security, restore livelihoods, and provide emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance in the wake of the flooding.
In total, the U.S. Government, through USAID, has contributed nearly $4.5 million, since the beginning of 2011, for flood relief operations in Sri Lanka.
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided development and humanitarian assistance in developing countries worldwide for nearly 50 years. Since 1956, USAID/Sri Lanka has invested over $2 billion to benefit all the people of Sri Lanka.