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* UN assisting Sri Lanka to evaluate flood assistance needs
Wed, Jan 12, 2011, 01:28 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 11, New York: The United Nations said Tuesday it is assisting Sri Lankan government with humanitarian assessment to identify the needs of the flood affected.

At the noon briefing today, Martin Nesirky, the Spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said initial area assessments have been conducted in the past 24 hours in several affected districts.

Preliminary findings include assistance needed in the areas of food, non-food items, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

The UN Humanitarian Country Team has assisted the Sri Lankan Government’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC) to carry out an assessment on Tuesday across all affected districts in the East, North and Central Provinces.

More information about the situation and current needs will be available in the next few days, the Spokesperson said.

According to Nesirky, the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are also all active on the ground to provide relief to the affected.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said that the WFP has re-allocated funds to support the Government's aid efforts, and will provide 735 metric tons of food assistance to feed approximately 400,000 of those affected.

The UN said it will bear the cost of setting up mobile medical clinics by the Sri Lankan government in the flood ravaged areas. The Health Ministry has sent five medical teams to the eastern and Polonnaruwa areas to control possible outbreaks of diseases and assist the displaced.

The UNICEF has been delivering water tanks and taps to the eastern region since the beginning of the flooding and is supporting further assessments, the UN informed.

Continuous heavy rains lashing the country since December 26 have caused severe floods in the Eastern and North Central Provinces and earth slips in the Central Province.

According to the figures released today by the DMC 863,773 people from 228,076 families have been affected by the floods and earth slips while 127,598 of them have been displaced from their homes and sheltered in 351 camps set up by the government.

Island wide 13 deaths have been reported with seven deaths from landslides in the Central hills and another 44 people have been injured. One person has been reported missing.

The hardest hit area was the Batticaloa district in the Eastern Province where over 480,000 people have been affected by the floods.

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