02/09/2011, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Caritas Sri Lanka aids flood victims

by Melani Manel Perera
At least 17 districts affected by the rains, more than one million people displaced, 11 dead. Caritas was the first to intervene, and continues to provide aid and relief to those affected. Meanwhile, the government is also promoting an aid package.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Torrential rains, floods and landslides have been disrupting the lives of 1,243,478 people, 362,821 households belonging to 17 districts in Sri Lanka for days. It is a situation that threatens to cripple the entire country. Only last week, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) registered 11 deaths in the districts of Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Mullativu, and 90% of the cultivation of rice has been damaged beyond repair. Many families of internally displaced persons (IDPs), already displaced in the refugee camps of Vavuniya, have been forced to move again. Caritas, the social arm of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, is at the forefront in the process of assistance and relief to the needy.

Card. Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, is urging the government and all Catholics to help the flood victims, sending items such as canned food and medicine.

Fr. George Sigamoney, national director of Caritas Sri Lanka (Sedec), told AsiaNews: "When there was the last flood, we help about eight thousand families in Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Badulla, Mannar, and Vanni Chillaw through the diocesan Caritas centers. We have donated about 3.8 million rupees [approximately 25 thousand euro] to the diocese to support flood victims. And once again we have collected and delivered a further 20,700,405 rupees [approximately € 137mila] in targeted aid, food and first aid. "

Meanwhile, the Government announced the allocation of a weekly aid package for the next six months. With the assistance of the World Food Programme (WFP), from February 11 flood victims will receive food parcels provided with rice, dhal, coconut oil and sugar.

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