UN: Floods Continue to Displace Thousands of People in Sri Lanka

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–12 January 2011 – Floods and landslides caused by ongoing torrential rainfall in Sri Lanka have continued to displace more people, with the number of those affected approaching the one million mark, and the death toll standing at 18, the United Nation humanitarian office said today.

A total of total of 967,115 individuals – or 258,120 families – have been affected, with two people listed as missing and 49 injured, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, citing figures provided by the Sri Lankan government and local authorities.

Some 195,919 persons – or 52,283 families – have been forced to leave their homes and are accommodated in 493 temporary relocation centres in eight districts. In the country’s east, the district of Batticaloa, with a total of 122,047 internally displaced persons, remains one of the most affected areas.

OCHA said that rapid assessments are underway to determine the extent and location of damage.

In cooperation with Sri Lankan disaster management officials and local authorities, assessment missions, which include representatives from various UN agencies, are identifying immediate relief needs.

OCHA added that the assessment missions continue to experience constraints due to poor access because many roads have been submerged. Findings from preliminary observations show that those affected are in need of food and other basic items, as wells as drinking water.

Sri Lanka’s meteorological department today forecast fairly heavy rainfall and strong winds over the next 36 hours in some areas of the eastern, northern and central provinces.