UN provides relief worth millions to Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Saturday, 01 January 2005, 16:40 GMT]
United Nations Country Team in Sri Lanka has provided relief assistance worth several millions of rupees including direct cash grants, materials such as food and non-food items, medicine and technical support since last Sunday when the devastating tsunami struck the island, United Nations Information Centre in a press release issued Saturday said.

Excerpts of the press release follow: -

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which made an initial allocation of US $ 100,000, is now providing technical support to the Centre for national Operations (CNO). Two disaster management specialists from the UN have been deployed at the CNO on the round-the clock basis, along with a liaison officer to co-ordinate government and international efforts.

Within a few hours of the disaster the UNDP Country Office re-deployed UN volunteers trained in disaster risk management to the worst affected districts of Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Amparai and Matara. Two additional teams of UNVs will be deployed to other affected districts by 1st January.

The World Food Programme (WFP) continues to dispatch truckloads of food aid to the hardest hit districts of Amparai, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Mullaitivu, Hambantota, Matara and Galle. In addition 4,000 metric tonnes of rice, wheat flour, lentils and sugar are being moved to each of the affected districts according to the number of displaced persons reported. The total quantity of immediately available will be sufficient to feed 750,000 displaced persons for a 15 day period. Further the WFP will use its contingency funds of US $ 500,000 to purchase urgently needed food stocks.

To date, the UNHCR has released relief items valued at nearly US $ 380,000.

The UNICEF has brought into the islands medical kits that will allow 15 hospitals to service the needs of 150,000 people for three months. Within three days of the disaster, the agency responded to the government request for help by providing 30,000 blankets, sleeping mats, towels, water bottles, cooking utensil sets and clothing for the displaced people. UNICEF teams in Batticaloa, Killinochchi, Jaffna and Trincomalee have been actively engaged in assisting the local populations.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has committed US $ 250,000 and additional staff for rapid assessments, hygiene needs, health supplies and psychological support.

World Health Organization (WHO) has provided 900,000 water purification tablets and four emergency health kits, which contain essential medicines and first aid equipment sufficient for 10,000 people for three months. The Agency is helping to establish pre-epidemic disease surveillance systems in displacement camps

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) immediately after the disaster, mobilized its field staff in the affected districts to assist the government's relief effort. It involved farmer organizations to help the distribution of emergency relief materials. FAO has also fielded a team of international and national consultants to make a quick assessment of the damages caused to the fisheries and agricultural sector.

International financial institutions such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB) have started organizing, in co-operation with the UN Country Team, the preparation of an assessment of medium and long-term rehabilitation needs, particularly in regard to infrastructure and human settlements.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) through its offices in Amparai, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Jaffna and other locations, is assisting with the distribution of relief materials and needs identification

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Services (OCHA) allocated US $ 50,000 and sent a special emergency UN Disaster Assessment and Co-ordination (UNDAC) team to Sri Lanka immediately after the disaster.

 

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