UN mounts system-wide response to help Sri Lanka cope with deadly monsoon

from UN News Service
Published on 21 May 2003
With the death toll in Sri Lanka rising to more than 200, United Nations inter-agency teams are struggling alongside local relief workers to feed and shelter 171,000 survivors of the worst floods and landslides to hit the island in half a century.
The UN system has marshaled a broad response to the heavy monsoon rain that battered the south and southwest of Sri Lanka over the weekend. As estimates of the dead and missing continue to climb today, three UN inter-agency teams, together with the Ministry of Social Welfare, went to the five affected districts to make an emergency needs assessment and to survey damage to homes, farms, and plantations.

Through the government counterparts, UN agencies are also providing humanitarian assistance. The World Food Programme (WFP) is providing 10,000 family food packets, while the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is providing mats, cooking sets, and school uniform material. The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to distribute some 100,000 water purification tablets, typhoid vaccines, and emergency health kits.