By Navindra Senaratne – Media Coordinator of Sri Lanka Red Cross Society
The recent wave of flooding in Sri Lanka caused severe damages to paddy land almost destroying nearly 400,000 acres of paddy land in 7 Districts in the North, North-western, and Eastern Provinces.The livelihoods of farmers living in these were severely affected and the floods put their livelihood at risk.
In this backdrop the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) launched its Post Flood Recovery Programme and took steps to restore their livelihoods and to support them to restore their lives.
Under the Programme SLRCS distributed two-wheel tractors to farmers who were battered by the second wave of floods in Sri Lanka. The tractors were distributed in seven floods hit districts in order the restore the livelihoods of the farmers in the area.
“...we were so helpless and was wondering what do next when we lost our farming equipments and the paddy land due to the floods. This happened all of a sudden. We were hopeless at that point. But now thanks to the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society there is hope. We received tractors and other accessories in order to continue with our livelihood activities...” said 42 year old Kandasamy from Batticlaoa who received a two wheel tractor at the distribution ceremony.
The tractors were distributed among ten Farmers Organizations, selected according to SLRCS criteria closely coordinating with the Department of Agriculture.
The respective Divisional Secretariats and District Officers also gave their support in the selection process of the ten Farmers Organizations.
Distribution ceremonies were graced by the President of the SLRCS, Jagath Abeysinghe, Senior Vice President Baratha Jonikkuhewa, SLRCS Divisional Governance, Branch Executive Officers, and several other senior officials.
Several Government representatives also graced these distribution ceremonies.
“This is one of the steps taken by SLRCS to show its continuous commitment towards the rebuilding of these areas that were devastated by the recent floods” said the President of SLRCS Jagath Abeysinghe.
Since December 2010, heavy rains and flooding severely damaged roads, agricultural lands, and towns.
18 of Sri Lanka’s 25 districts were affected in what people describe as the worst floods in the hundred years. Several reservoirs overflowed causing extensive flooding of downstream villages with over 8,000 homes reportedly damaged or destroyed.