UN chief “deeply concerned” over floods in Sri Lanka

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he was “deeply concerned by the devastating impact caused by Cyclone Mora on Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,” adding that the UN stood “ready to scale up its support to the government-led response efforts in both countries.”

The UN said that the UN Migration Agency (IOM) deployed three rapid assessment teams to the most affected districts.

In a press statement, IOM maintained that while its teams travel to the four worst-hit districts of Ratnapura, Galle, Matara and Kalutara – in the south and centre of the country – the Government indicated that over 768 houses have been destroyed and 5,869 partially damaged while 80,409 people were temporarily displaced to 361 safe locations. More than half the displaced are located in Ratnapura district.

The flooding is believed to be the worst since May 2003, when a similarly powerful monsoon from the southwest destroyed 10,000 homes and killed 250 people, according to IOM.

“When the rain has eased on Sunday and Monday, rescue workers used the break in the weather to deliver much-needed aid to the worst-hit areas. But many villages remain inundated and cut off from basic services,” said the UN’s migration agency.

Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry is also deploying mobile health units and will introduce vector control measures to combat expected outbreaks of mosquito-borne dengue fever, which often follows flooding. Displaced people living in emergency shelters are particularly vulnerable. (Colombo Gazette)

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