Aug 29, Colombo: In a special event held at the Presidential Secretariat today, UNICEF in Sri Lanka handed over the keys of four Water Bowsers to President Maithripala Sirisena, in support of the Sri Lankan Government's ongoing response to the country's worst drought in 40 years..
A delegation headed by country representative for UNICEF in Sri Lanka Tim Sutton officially handed over the four water bowsers to President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat, today (29), for the purpose of further expanding the supply of drinking water facilities for the people affected by the drought.
Subsequently, the President handed over the documents related to the water bowsers to the Minister of City Planning and Water Supply Rauff Hakeem, Deputy Minister Sudarshini Fernandopulle and the Ministry Secretary Mr. Sarath Chandrasiri Vithana. Minister of Disaster Management Anura Priyadarshana Yapa was also present at the occasion.
The four water bowsers, each with the capacity to carry 6,000 liters of safe water, will be sent to the country's most severely drought affected districts - Polonnaruwa, Gampaha, Ampara and Kandy. The UNICEF assistance is part of a $1.5 million (approx. Rs. 230 million) package of support for vulnerable children and communities affected by the ongoing drought.
"Drought doesn't only endanger lives by limiting the availability of safe water, it has multiple knock-on effects such as destroying crops, increasing farmer indebtedness and driving food insecurity," said UNICEF Representative Tim Sutton. "Most importantly, these drastically impact the lives of children, especially the most vulnerable. That's why it's so vital for UNICEF to immediately provide essential supplies, as well as investing in long term resilience that enables children and communities to prepare and respond in the event of future water emergencies," he said.
Sri Lanka is facing the impact of climate change with water-related emergencies likely to increase in frequency and severity. In May 2017, Sri Lanka suffered widespread flooding and landslides, the second such emergency in just 12 months. The current drought is impacting over 1.8 million people including an estimated 600,000 children across 20 districts.
In response, UNICEF is providing both for the immediate water, sanitation, health and nutrition needs of communities as well as helping them to build longer-term resilience to survive the worst impacts of climate change.
UNICEF is seeking support from donors including the private sector and the public to aid the on-going relief efforts. All interested parties can use text to donate using UNICEF300 to 77100 or email for more info to firstname.lastname@example.org