Livelihoods destroyed by Sri Lanka floods

Published: 26 January 2011

IFRC appeals for greater funds to support communities to rebuild their livelihoods.

The International Federation of the Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) has revised its initial appeal after an in-depth evaluation of the reconstruction needs in Sri Lanka after devastating flash floods during the past weeks.

The IFRC is now appealing for 4.62 million Swiss francs (4.83 million US dollars or 3.55 million Euros) to provide continued emergency aid as well as longer-term recovery assistance to over 75,000 people over the next 12 months.

“The people of Sri Lanka have suffered a threefold disaster: 25 years of conflict, then the tsunami and now the floods. We need to do everything we can to support them” said Mr. Tadateru Konoé, IFRC President, who is currently in Sri Lanka to visit flood affected areas in the central, northern and eastern parts of the country.

“While responding to relief needs, we already have to prepare for a full recovery programme designed to better support the Sri Lanka Red Cross. In line with what has been done after the tsunami, and meet long-term needs of the people affected by the disaster,” Said Mr. Konoé.

The revised appeal will focus on restoration of livelihoods, awareness raising initiatives to reduce the risk of waterborne and water related diseases; the provision of safe water; adequate sanitation and hygiene promotion for the affected families.

Bob McKerrow is the head of delegation for the IFRC in Sri Lanka; “I was on the ground last week to see the relief efforts. There I saw people who are in absolute desperate need. After assessing the situation we realize that the initial appeal would not cover all of what we need to do. This revised appeal will get us there.”

Jagath Abeysinghe, President of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society has highlighted the importance of supporting the people affected by the floods. “We understand the plight of the people in these flood affected areas. That is why together, the Sri Lankan Red Cross and the IFRC are increasing our support to restore livelihoods as soon as possible.”

Current figures show that at least 43 people have lost their lives and over a million people have been affected by floods and landslides in various parts of Sri Lanka. Currently, rebuilding efforts are being carried out by volunteers and members of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society with the support of the IFRC and partner National Societies across 24 districts of Sri Lanka.

Districts such as Ampara, Batticaloa, Polonnaruwa, Monaragala, Nuwara-Eliya, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Kandy, Trincomalee, Vavuniya, Monaragala, Ratnapura, Kilinochchi and Matale have been severely affected by the incessant rains of recent weeks, with other districts in the country also affected by intermittent heavy winds and rain.

For further information, or to set up interviews, please contact:

• Sri Lanka: o Surein Peiris – deputy director of operations, Sri Lanka Red Cross Society Tel: +94 77 368 8647 | o Mahieash Johnney – communications manager, IFRC Sri Lanka Tel: +94 77 350 2156 |
• India: o Paula Alvarado – regional communications manager, IFRC South Asia Tel: +91 98 1864 4724 |
• Geneva, Switzerland o Paul Conneally – Head of Media and Public Relations Tel: +41(0)79.3089809 |