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Sri Lankans suffer from rains, flooding

Caritas blames lack of coordination for slow aid

Sri Lankans suffer from rains, flooding
An abandoned rural shack in Batticaloa reporter, Batticaloa
Sri Lanka

January 7, 2011

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Lack of aid has affected more than 300,000 people in Sri Lanka as they continue to suffer because of heavy rains and flooding in northern and eastern parts of the country. “Almost 80 percent of the people in this parish of Kalmunai are affected. The Velankanni Church is still under water. There has to be some systematic approach to assist these people,” said Father Jude Johnson, the parish priest in Batticaloa district. Floods inundated hundreds of villages and irrigation tanks as Mahaveli river, the country’s largest, burst its banks. According to state reports, 635 houses were destroyed while 2,498 were damaged. The displaced people are sheltered in seven camps. Flooding that began because of torrential rains in mid-December has affected 362,873 people in the region, many of whom are still waiting for assistance. Good Shepherd nun Sister Ranjani, a teacher at Vanni Vidyalayam school in Valachchenai, said children cannot go to school because many areas are still under water.
Flooding has caused widespread damage
“I haven’t seen any organized relief work going on around here,” she said. “Lack of coordination is the reason for the delay in relief actions,” said Father Sritharan Sylvester, head of Caritas Batticaloa. The affected numbers are massive, unless there is substantial coordination, not much can be done, he added. According to H. Nataraja, a flood victim in Batticaloa, displaced villagers are taking refuge in public buildings and welfare centers. “(These) people undergo hardships without even a meal a day,” he said. According to the census in Batticaloa, the total population of 486,447 is made up of 68 percent Hindus, 5.9 percent Christians, 25 percent Muslims and a small number of Buddhists. Related reports Caritas builds jungle homes for displaced Hindus Priest helps farmers battle floods Muslim mayor thanks Caritas for new hall SR12747.1635
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