South Asia News
UN: 6,600 still displaced by Sri Lanka floods
Feb 18, 2011, 14:00 GMT
Geneva - The United Nations said Friday that 6,600 people are still displaced because of recent floods in Sri Lanka, and the economic impact of the disaster remains severe.
However, most of the 63,000 initially displaced people have been able to return home. In total, nearly 1 million people were affected by the floods.
The World Food Programme continues to feed some 192,000 people in need of emergency aid.
Agricultural land was devastated by the floods, Neil Buhne, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sri Lanka, said in Geneva. In one region, 95 per cent of rice paddies were damaged. Tens of thousands of farmers and pastoralists have lost income.
'In many of these areas affected by flooding, the biggest issue is agriculture. The economy was destroyed in many of these low income areas,' Buhne said.
The UN appeal to donors for about 51 million dollars to aid the flood victims was 27 per cent funded, as of earlier this week.
Some of the areas hit by the floods - which came in two waves over the last six weeks - were also regions affected by intense fighting during the civil war that ended in 2009, leaving people there especially vulnerable.
Buhne, who is stepping down as the humanitarian chief in the country after serving for over 3 years, said Sri Lanka was still in a 'process of transformation.'
Some 5,000 people, accused of being ex-combatants for the rebel Tamil Tigers, remain locked up and the UN does not have regular access to see them.
Also, 18,000 people are still confined to so-called 'Welfare Centres' mainly as their villages are covered by land mines.
Read more about SriLanka Weather
Read more about UN