President appoints task force to rehabilitate flood-affected areas

Tuesday, 8 February 2011 00:33 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Roughing it out

President Mahinda Rajapaksa following a decision arrived at the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Central Committee meeting yesterday has appointed a task force to rehabilitate the areas affected by the floods.

The Government has allocated a further Rs.70 million to provide relief to those affected by floods; Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told the national radio SLBC.

Continuing heavy monsoon rains lashed Sri Lanka’s north, east and central regions in the past 24 hours inundating more low-lying areas, spilling irrigation tanks and adding to the misery of over 1.2 million people.

According to the latest statistics from the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) of Sri Lanka, as of noon Monday, 1, 223,052 people from 326,230 families in 18 districts have been affected by the floods and landslide threats.

Eleven deaths have been reported so far while 3 have been reported as missing.

A total of 311,281people have been displaced by the floods and they have been given shelter in 744 government-run shelters.

The fresh round of floods has fully damaged 2,273 homes and partially damaged another 13,148 homes.

Many low-lying areas and roads have been inundated due to overflowing of irrigation tanks in Puttalam, Moneragala, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, and Trincomalee Districts.

Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, and Mannar districts are the worst affected areas due to the floods.

Landslides in central hill region have made some roads impassable. District Secretary Nuwara Eliya, D.P.G. Kumarasiri has said that the main Nuwara Eliya-Gampola-Kandy road has been closed.

Some 30 Buddhist monks from Mawalangala Aramaya in Hali-Ela in the Badulla District have been evacuated to safety due to the possibility of landslides in the area.

All schools in the North Central Province will be closed on Monday and Tuesday due to the prevailing bad weather conditions, the government said. All schools in Trincomalee and Batticaloa Districts were to be closed for three days from yesterday.

Of the 1,020 schools in the Eastern Province, 242 have been used for relief camps. Over 300 school buildings are under water, the authorities said.

The Meteorology Department has predicted more thundershowers with heavy rain falls above 100 mm in some areas in the Northern, North Central, Eastern, Uva, and Central Provinces and over Hambantota District.

Special Health programme for the affected

A Special Health Protection Programme has been formulated by the Health Ministry to ensure the health of about over one million people who have been affected by the recent floods.

Special measures will be taken to ensure the health of the affected in the Polonnaruwa, Ampara, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, Vavuniya, Matale, Kandy, Badulla and Nuwara Eliya Districts.

According to Disaster Management Centre around 1,243,478 people in 18 districts have been affected by floods. Eleven deaths have been reported so far while 250,501 people have been displaced from their homes.

The Army and Navy have deployed relief teams in the affected districts.

Arrangements have been made by the government and voluntary organisations to supply cooked meals to the affected. The government has also taken measures to provide dry rations for the flood affected people for six months. The flood affected can collect their dry rations from the cooperative stores of their respective villages.

The United Nations said its agencies are providing additional support to the Sri Lankan government to respond to the fresh floods while the relief efforts for the hundreds of thousands of people affected by earlier flooding are continuing.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has dispatched a total of 508 metric tonnes of food rations to the districts of Batticaloa, Ampara, and Trincomalee.

Meanwhile, all schools in the North Central Province will be closed today and tomorrow due to the prevailing bad weather conditions.

All the schools in Trincomalee and Batticaloa Districts will be closed for three days from yesterday.

No further flood effect for IDPs

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Menik Farm relief centre are now not affected by the present floods, Colonel Vadugodapitiya, Chief Co-ordinating Officer for relief services for the IDPs said.

Earlier, the Kadiragamar and Ananadakumaraswami zones of Menik Farm were affected to a small extent by the flood brought about by overflowing water from the Kallaru Oya. But the authorities took immediate measures to shift the IDPs to the other zones which have been remaining empty after resettling thousands of IDPs in their places of origin, he added.

All the IDPs in Menik Farm relief village are in a good condition with all required facilities for living as they earlier did in the camps, the Chief Coordinating Officer further stated.