iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
Colombo, January 18, 2011
The United Nations is rushing a top relief official to take stock of the flood situation in Sri Lanka and coordinate an international appeal for emergency funds. Latest reports said at least 40 people were killed and around 1.1 million affected by the floods that have devastated swathes of areas in central and eastern provinces. About a dozen districts have been affected.

While the government is still calculating the damage triggered by the unusually heavy monsoon rains in the last two weeks, estimates have put the cost of the damage to around $ 500 million.

As of Monday noon, the disaster management centre (DMC) reported that a total of 1,073,895 from 285,659 families have been affected by the deluge. However, as the flood waters recede people have started to return home and only 51,423 displaced people remained in 137 camps.

UN Assistant Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Catherine Bragg will visit Sri Lanka on an official three-day mission to meet the flood-affected people, beginning Wednesday, the UN office said.

"The purpose of Ms Bragg's mission is to highlight all humanitarian needs in Sri Lanka, and the United Nations ongoing commitment in providing humanitarian relief and assistance, and for advocating on behalf of the most vulnerable people," the UN statement said.

The AFP quoted the Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera as having warned today that food prices could shoot up after devastating floods in the north and east of the country destroyed rice and vegetable crops.

Amaraweera said vegetable prices had already been affected because of the impact on growing areas that were swamped by unusually heavy monsoon rains.

"We have a buffer stock of rice that is good for three months. That means there will be no immediate impact on the price of rice, but vegetables are already going up in price," Amaraweera told AFP.

India, US and Japan besides the World Food Programme are already helping the flood victims with food and medicines. On Sunday, Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) wrote to President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressing his concern.

"My wife and I have been watching, with mounting concern, the terrible effects of the flooding which has been afflicting so much of Sri Lanka. Our hearts go out to the families of those who have so tragically lost their lives and to all those who have lost their property and, crucially, their next harvest," he said in the statement.