Food, Other Aid Rushed to Sri Lanka’s Flood Survivors

In Sri Lanka, Catholic Relief Services is helping thousands of people affected by the worst natural disaster in the country since the 2004 tsunami.

Heavy monsoon rains, especially in the three eastern districts of Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Amparai, have affected over one million people. In some places, even the temporary camps set up for the flood victims have gone under water.

“Some areas are difficult to access and people are trapped there,” said Father George Sigamoney, Secretary General of Caritas Sri Lanka. “Rivers are overflowing, dams are breaking and the main roads can’t be used. More rain is expected in the next days.”

CRS has committed an initial $20,000 to Caritas Sri Lanka to assist with the flood response. Caritas is currently supporting about 75,000 people with cooked meals, safe drinking water and health care.

Caritas also plans to distribute food packages containing rice, flour, dry fish, sugar and soap. About 850 families will receive basic shelter materials to set up temporary sheds.

“In the northeast, hundreds of farmers had started to cultivate their fields again after the war,” said Fr. Sigamoney. “But these efforts are turning out to be futile as the rains continue to lash the rice growing areas.”

Fr. Sigamoney is also worried about the effect the floods will have on food prices.

“Thousands of acres of rice fields ready for harvest within the next few weeks have been ruined,” he said. “Throughout the country, this will lead to shortages and make the prices explode. The poor will find it even more difficult to afford the most basic food items.”

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