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Catholics, UN appeal for aid to flood victims

Sri Lankan floods worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami

Catholics, UN appeal for aid to flood victims
Catholics collecting relief items for flood victims reporter, Kandy
Sri Lanka

January 24, 2011

The United Nations has launched an appeal to raise US$51 million to meet the needs of people affected by flooding in Sri Lanka. Churches, media organizations and civic groups are collecting relief items for the victims.

The floods are the worst natural disaster to hit Sri Lanka since the 2004 tsunami and have caused 43 deaths. The government has estimated flood and landslide damage at some US$500 million.

In a statement, the UN said its appeal is to meet the urgent needs of more than one million people affected by recent heavy rains and floods in Sri Lanka and enable international partners to support the government to help them over the next six months.

Sri Lanka is still rebuilding after the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, which killed roughly 40,000 people and left 2.5 million homeless. The country also continues to struggle with the aftermath of a violent decades-long separatist rebellion in the north of the country, which ended in 2009.

Parishioners of the Sacred Heart church at Katugastota in the diocese of Kandy have collected relief items to help the victims.

“Our parishioners are very generous; they did as much as they could,” said parish priest Father Michael Sandanam of The Order of Saint Benedict.

UN assistant secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg is in flood affected areas in the northern and eastern provinces today to assess the humanitarian needs of displaced people. She commended the government for making significant progress in meeting the needs of the displaced.

However, Ampitiye Sumanarathana Thero, a Buddhist monk from Batticaloa district said “There are people who have received nothing. People are coming to me looking for my assistance,” he told media.

Related reports
Caritas volunteers assist flood victims
Sri Lankans suffer from rains, flooding

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