No let-up in the rain and flood situation

Friday, 11 February 2011 01:54 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Shezna Shums

The death toll following the rains and floods is continuing to increase with recent statistics showing a total of 17 deaths so far with 11 people injured and two persons still missing.

According to statistics provided by the Disaster Management Centre the number of IDP camps has reduced due to many families returning to their homes or going to live with relatives.The total number of affected persons still remains over one million with the Disaster Management Centre records showing a total of 1, 246, 383 persons affected from 333, 383 families.The number of IDP camps has reduced over the last few days with 545 camps currently providing shelter to 121, 035 persons from a total of 33, 460 families.

To date the number of houses that are fully damaged is 3, 663 with 23, 653 houses partially damaged.Some of the families living in the IDP camps had been there since the first week of January with the first spell of rains and landslides.The situation report from the DMC shows that several roads are still under water with some roads closed temporarily due to the possibility of landslides. The sluice gates of several tanks and reservoirs had to be opened to release excess water to avert the threat of their bunds breaching.

Several agricultural lands located close to these tanks and reservoirs were inundated due to the flow of excess water causing severe damage to paddy as well other agricultural crops.The National Building Research Organisation is closely monitoring the areas of Badulla and Nuwara Eliya as there a possibility of landslides. During the rains NBRO officials monitored several landslide prone areas and were struggling to cope with the need for increased investigations in several districts.

The Asian Development Bank has said that Asia must prepare for millions of people who flee their homes to safer havens within countries and across borders as weather patterns become more extreme.

Hoarders and black marketers beware!

By Shezna Shums

The Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade issued a statement warning all rice traders to continue selling their stocks of rice within the price limit set by the Consumer Affairs Authority.

Chairman, Consumer Affairs Authority, Rumy Marzook issued a statement stating that rice traders who increase the price of rice or are found to be hoarding rice stocks will be fined if caught.

The price of a kilo of Samba is Rs. 70 and a kilo of Nadu, Red Kekulu and White Kekulu costs Rs. 60 in the market according to the CAA.

The CAA will carry out raids to nab traders who overprice rice or hoard stocks stated a CAA statement.

The Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade urges traders not to cause fear and difficulty to the public at a time when things are already bad.

Chairman, CAA, Rumy Marzook in statement made last Wednesday referred to the possibility of rice traders cheating the public following the damage caused to paddy crops by the recent rains. As of yesterday no trader had been fined for either increasing the price of rice or hoarding rice stocks.

IFRC warns of funding gap as fresh flooding affects more than 1 million people

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has warned that it remains extremely concerned about the humanitarian impact of the recent flooding that has brought devastation and chaos to the eastern, northern and central provinces of Sri Lanka. Heavy monsoon rains have affected more than 1.2 million people in recent days causing the displacement of over 300,000 people from their homes.

As the situation worsens, only 17% of the IFRC’s 4.6 million Swiss francs (4.8 million USD, 3.5 million Euros) emergency appeal for the floods has been met.

“This is the third successive wave of flooding since December. We’ve have had severe rains for at least 48 hours and many of the same families have been hit repeatedly. Conditions are intolerable; we urgently need donors to step forward so that we can purchase relief materials,” says Bob McKerrow, head of delegation for the IFRC in Sri Lanka.

18 of Sri Lanka’s 25 districts have been affected in what people describe as the worst floods in the past 100 years. The worst affected districts are Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Polonnaruwa and Ampara. Several reservoirs have overflowed causing extensive flooding of downstream villages with over 15,000 homes reportedly damaged or destroyed.

Displaced families are being housed in more than 744 temporary evacuation centres established by the government in 11 districts across the island. An estimated 300,000 hectares of rice paddy has been destroyed prompting fears of price hikes in the country’s staple food. During the last three months the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) has assisted more than 800,000 people. Thousands of Red Cross volunteers have been involved in relief efforts, distributing clothes, mosquito nets, bed sheets, sleeping mats, kaftans, tarpaulins and safe drinking water to affected people. “It’s crucial that we provide these relief items to these people so that they do not become vulnerable to other diseases that could arise after a flood situation like this”, says Sri Lanka Red Cross director general, Tissa Abeywickrama. The IFRC’s emergency appeal aims to support the Sri Lanka Red Cross’s emergency response and recovery effort with hopes to reach 75,000 families.