UNITED NATIONS, June 7 (APP): In the aftermath of a devastating tropical storm in Sri Lanka, United Nations says its agencies are
working to provide shelters and other emergency kits while seeking to contain a mosquito-borne disease that is starting to ‘spiral out of control.’
Heavy flooding, landslides and flash floods caused by
Tropical Cyclone Mora in Myanmar and Bangladesh, and torrential monsoon rains have affected some 684,000 people in south and central Sri
Lanka. The flooding, which is believed to be the worst in over a
decade, has left at least 212 people dead and 79 missing.
Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC) estimates that
over 2,500 houses were destroyed and nearly 15,900 damaged.
These numbers could rise as data from damage assessments is compiled
in the coming weeks.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it
plans to provide 3,700 shelter repair kits, 5,000 non-food relief
item kits and 250 temporary shelters, with funding sought from
the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF),.. The intervention
will help an estimated 74,750 people.
Nearly 22,000 people are still sheltering in over 200
overcrowded sites, including schools, temples and churches, the
In flood-affected areas people are expected to return to their
homes as water levels recede. But in landslide-affected
areas, people currently staying in evacuation centres or with
relatives and friends are unlikely to be able to return to their
homes in the short term.
“There will likely be a need to track displacement, return,
and site closure. People will need shelter and other non-food
relief items (when they leave the sites) and we will need to ensure
that aid is distributed at the location most useful and appropriate
for each affected family,” said IOM Sri Lanka Chief of
Mission Giuseppe Crocetti.
On Friday, the UN Humanitarian Country Team launched
an emergency response plan seeking $22.7 million to address
the critical life-saving and protection needs of 374,000 people
in seven districts, targeting four priority sectors, including shelter, food, health and water and sanitation.
IOM will co-lead the emergency shelter and non-food item
sector, which is appealing for $6.5 million, the UN said.
Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is calling for
$3.5 million to keep vulnerable children safe.
“So far we have delivered water and sanitation supplies, we
are working on education supplies, strengthening health
systems and rehabilitating basic health services and working
on disease control for both diarrhoea and dengue which is starting
to spiral out of control,” UNICEF country representative Tim Sutton said.
He said flood waters have not receded in the southern
district of Matara, raising fears of mosquito-borne disease
transmission. He noted that so far this year there have already
been more than 53,000 cases of dengue, a mosquito-borne
tropical disease, which causes severe flu-like symptoms. It is
a leading cause of death among children and adults in Sri Lanka.