Sri Lanka Floods: UN Calls For Emergency Aid

The UN is to launch an appeal for emergency flood aid for Sri Lanka, where at least 32 people have died and more than 300,000 have been displaced.

(BBC)

A Sri Lankan flood victim Weerakutti Nesamma carries a pot of drinking water at her submerged compound in Kartivu, about 220 kilometers (137 miles) east of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011. The United Nations said it will launch an emergency appeal for funds to help those affected by floods that have ravaged Sri Lanka's east for days.

The UN is to launch an appeal for emergency flood aid for Sri Lanka, where at least 32 people have died and more than 300,000 have been displaced.

"I urge donors to generously support priority needs such as mosquito nets, clean water and food," UN humanitarian co-ordinator Neil Buhne said.

Flood waters are now receding in the worst-hit areas in eastern and central Sri Lanka.

But aid agencies are warning of the danger of water-borne diseases.

Sri Lankan flood victims wade trough a submerged road in Karaithivu, about 220 kilometers east of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011. Sellaih Rasiah, a community leader in Karaithivu, said villagers affected by the devastating 2004 tsunami have lost most of their belongings and would again have to start anew. Schoolchildren have lost their books and clothes, he said.

Mr Buhne said in a statement that the UN's aid appeal would be issued in the coming days.

He said that funds were urgently needed to help replant flooded rice fields and also compensate people affected.

The floods have inflicted terrible destruction on the rice crop which was soon to be harvested, the BBC's Charles Haviland in Sri Lanka reports.

Sri Lankan flood affected women wade through the waters of a flooded street of the eastern Sri Lankan town of Batticaloa on January 14, 2011. The number of people killed in Sri Lanka's monsoon flooding and mudslides has risen to 27 with more than a million people still displaced by the devastating disaster, officials said.

Much of the land in the worst-affected areas is still flooded, with crops and vegetation just peeping out, our correspondent says.

But he adds that the weather is getting warmer and dryer, bringing water levels down after weeks of heavy rain.

Some people have now begun returning from specially set-up displacement centres to their homes.