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Emergency NZ appeal for Sri Lanka floods

Emergency NZ appeal as Sri Lanka floods join queue of global environmental disasters

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Adding to the environmental disasters created by unprecedented extreme weather around the globe, Sri Lanka is experiencing severe floods, affecting over 1 million people in the past week. ChildFund New Zealand is asking New Zealanders to contribute to an emergency appeal to support the children and families whose livelihoods have been devastated by these floods.

Heavy rains and flooding have destroyed over 350,000 acres of crops in eastern and central parts of Sri Lanka. This equates up to 90 per cent of the crops produced by farmers who have also lost around a quarter of a million livestock. As children and their families flee the rising floodwaters to make-shift camps, estimates by the Sri Lankan government put the bill in excess of US$500 million.

New Zealanders sponsor more than 1,200 children across Sri Lanka including Trincomalee district which has experienced severe flooding. The newly established ChildFund New Zealand project area in the Batticaloa district has been completely cut off from the outside and ChildFund staff based in the area report that the New Zealand-dedicated project is almost completely submerged by the floodwaters. As the waters begin to subside, they may reveal a further threat of destabilised, undetected mines left hidden from the recent civil war which pose serious risk to human life.

ChildFund New Zealand Chief Financial Officer Mahinda Herath returned from Sri Lanka on Friday after visiting family over the Christmas holidays. He says people have not had time to recover from the seasonal monsoon rains before the current deluge.

“It has been raining since October and now the floodwaters are just sitting on top of the already saturated ground with nowhere to run off. Reservoirs are overflowing and more worrying, sewage systems have been overwhelmed.

“To add to the suffering the spread of dengue fever, diarrhoea and malaria is now a serious risk to children. We need all the help we can get with a disaster of this scale."

A generous donation of $30 could provide an essential hygiene kit. Just $44 could provide mosquito nets for a family or $100 could help to provide emergency food rations.

Donations to ChildFund’s Sri Lanka’s Emergency Appeal can be made by calling 0800 223 111 or online www.childfund.org.nz.

ENDS

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