A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
International agency Oxfam today said that the disaster in Sri Lanka was deepening as a result of a second wave of flooding in the country. One million people in Sri Lanka have already been affected by the first wave of flooding.
“These fresh floods could not have occurred at a worse time. The situation is alarming as people who recently returned to their homes after last month’s flooding have been forced to flee again. Needs are immense and the affected population is being exposed to fresh dangers after the latest round of flooding”, said Thusitha Siriwardana, Oxfam’s Campaign Manager in the country.
The recent floods have been widespread affecting 18 districts in the Eastern, Northern, Central and North-Central Provinces. More than a million people have been affected in the new flooding and over 320,000 have been forced into temporary shelters. Damage to houses, roads and farmlands has further intensified. Many areas are still inaccessible making it difficult to conduct rescue and relief operations and to assess the extent of damage.
Siriwardana further warned:
“The situation is critical. In addition to the massive humanitarian needs there are long-term concerns regarding food security as well. The floods are likely to destroy more than 90 per cent of the paddy cultivation in the affected districts.
The international community needs to do more for the flood affected in the country. So far only US$11.6 million has been received towards the flood response, including US$7.7 million mobilized through the UN Flash Appeal for US$ 51 million.”
Oxfam has already been supporting 120,000 people in the Eastern and North-Central Provinces with basic items including food and water. The agency has responded to the latest wave of flooding as well and has reached affected populations with cooked food, water, tarpaulins, and hygiene items. In addition, Oxfam has also been providing support in rescue services.
Alternatively, please consider making a donation to the general emergency fund of your nearest national Oxfam affiliate. Your money will be used to fund our emergency work worldwide, which includes responding in countries such as Sri Lanka.
Notes to editors
Photos and case-studies from Sri Lanka are available on request.
Oxfam staff are available for interview on the ground in the affected area.
The first wave of flooding took place less than a month ago and affected over a million people in the East and North Central Provinces. The floods devastated lives and livelihoods and resulted in the displacement of over 360,000 people. A flash appeal for US$51 million was launched by the UN on January 19.
Oxfam has been supporting projects and partners in Sri Lanka since 1968. Oxfam’s focus, in the country, is on women’s economic and political leadership, livelihoods and economic development, and humanitarian assistance and protection.
For more information:
1)Thusitha Siriwardana, Campaigns and Policy Manager, Oxfam GB, Colombo
Mobile: +94 (0) 773184817
2) Rishani Wijesinghe, Advocacy Coordinator, Oxfam Australia, Colombo
Tel: +94 (0) 772929147
3) S.Raguraamamurty, Program Coordinator, Oxfam GB, Batticaloa
Mobile: +94 (0) 77 318 726 8