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AmeriCares has responded quickly to requests for emergency relief in Sri Lanka where severe flooding has affected over one million people and forced more than 350,000 people from their homes. The entire east coast of the island nation, including areas previously hit hard by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, has experienced disastrous floodwaters and landslides from heavy monsoon rains which are expected to continue over the next two months.
To meet the immediate need for basic supplies, AmeriCares staff in Sri Lanka procured and delivered 3,500 family hygiene kits and nutritional supplements, plus additional dry food rations for 300 families, providing immediate relief to the most vulnerable people displaced from their homes particularly in the Batticaloa, Ampara and Polonaruwa districts where flooding brought all normal activities to a standstill.
In the worst affected Eastern Province, the damage to agricultural land could leave one million people, including 400,000 children, without enough food. Sri Lanka’s agricultural ministry reported that 21% of the country’s rice crop has been destroyed by the floods. The rains also bring a risk of waterborne diseases, including dengue fever that can be deadly, which even in normal conditions is a significant problem for the country.
“AmeriCares strong relationship with the Ministry of Health and our experience working in the flood affected area through our tsunami reconstruction program has helped us quickly mobilize an initial distribution of relief supplies with an established international NGO partner,” said Rachel Granger, AmeriCares vice president overseeing the tsunami reconstruction program. “We also continue to work closely with the local health authorities to respond to emergency situations such as the flooding and to coordinate our ongoing health care projects in the country.”
AmeriCares has delivered more than $28 million of medical aid to Sri Lanka since 1990 and has been actively engaged in Sri Lanka’s recovery efforts following the December 2004 tsunami.
Six years after the tsunami, AmeriCares has invested over $17 million in projects including the upgrading of the Elpitiya Hospital in the southern region of the country. AmeriCares work continues with the upgrading of Trincomalee District Hospital, building a new wing to expand patient capacity and many of the hospital’s services, including a new maternity ward and laboratory.