COLOMBO/HONG KONG, 8 February 2011 – UNICEF is dispatching more supplies to support communities hit by renewed, severe flooding in Sri Lanka, aiming to ensure that affected families have access to safe water and an ability to maintain basic levels of hygiene.
The latest batch of supplies includes 19,000 school kits (including notebooks, pens, pencils), 10,600 reinforced tarpaulins, 60 drums of chlorine bleaching powder, 2,000 sleeping mats, water tanks (2,000 litre capacity, each), water purification tablets and children’s clothes (5,000 sets).
This new consignment of materials means the total value of supplies sent in the past three weeks by UNICEF Sri Lanka to assist communities in the east of the country is more than HK$4.68 million (US$600,000).
More than a million people have been affected by this latest flooding which has impacted communities living in the north and the east of the country. In many places, schools remain closed as they have become centres of refuge.
Children are among the most vulnerable in these floods. Many cannot swim and some are too fragile to fend for themselves. The severe flooding in Sri Lanka is partly a consequence of persistent and heavy rain in parts of the island since 26 December 2010.
UNICEF Sri Lanka responded to the first phase of severe flooding, which was concentrated in the east of the country, by sending two consignments of supplies last month, which included: water tanks (1,000 litre capacity, each), hygiene kits (washing kits to last a family of five a month including towels, soap, toothpaste, washing powder), reinforced tarpaulins, plastic buckets, sleeping mats, and community cooking pots (up to 150 litre capacity, each).
UNICEF’s consignments have been handed over to local government officials in order to distribute badly-needed goods to the displaced. This UNICEF support is part of a wider Government and UN effort to help the affected communities. The UN is currently revising its emergency fundraising appeal to reflect the impact of the renewed flooding.