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Record Rain falls cripple Northern Sri Lanka

Dec 1, 2008, 16:37 Digg this story!

By Paul Emmanuel - TNS

 

COLOMBO – Cyclone Nisha brought the heavy rains in decades to the Island north and crippled people lives many ways according to reports reaching from there. Jaffna recorded the highest rainfall since 1918, recorded 520.1 millimetres of rain last week, with Wednesday’s reading of 389.8 millimetres, being the highest in nine decades.

 

The heavy rains during the past few days claimed 15 lives in the North, 9 in Jaffna District and 6 in Mullaitivu, Killinochchi Districts and many missing still not accounted yet. The badly affected districts of Jaffna, Mannar, KIllinochchi and Mullaitivu still recovering from Cyclone Nisha and needs urgent help, says civil officials. Heavy infrastructure damages reported in many places across the North.

 

According to initial reports 97,656 families affected in Jaffna District, while another 21,200 families in the Mulaitivu District, 17,500 families in the Killinochchi District and 5,136 families in the Mannar District were also affected.

 

The Inter-Agency standing committee (IASC) stated in a situation report on 28 November that over 82,000 people were affected in Mulaithivu District. The hardest hit Jaffna district more than 330,000 people were affected and over 40,000 houses were damaged, including 11,000 listed as destroyed.

The cyclonic winds up to 80km/hr in the Jaffna Peninsula caused widespread flooding. There has been no electricity since 25 November 2008 at 8pm. The sea level increased overnight and in some areas, the situation has been adversely affected by the blocking of drainage canals. Causeways have been flooded and damaged, isolating the islands off the main Peninsula.

 

247 temporary camps have been set up in Jaffna district alone to the affected people since heavy flood waters forced many in the low lying areas out of their homes. The worst affected people are in the KIllinochchi and Mullaitivu districts since many of them are internally displaced recently and have no permanent shelter.

 

Meanwhile the Human Rights Watch (HRW) urges the Government of Sri Lanka to allow immediately the international humanitarian agencies to rebel held Vanni in northern Sri Lanka so they can assist thousands of persons displaced by flooding from Cyclone Nisha.

 

“The Sri Lankan government should immediately lift its September order barring humanitarian agencies from the Vanni conflict area in northern Sri Lanka so they can assist thousands of persons displaced by flooding from Cyclone Nisha,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement.

 

“Cyclone Nisha hit northern Sri Lanka on November 25, 2008, causing heavy rains and flooding that reportedly forced between 60,000 and 70,000 people to relocate. Thousands of shelter kits and tarps are available from the humanitarian community to provide emergency shelters for the affected families, but the government has reportedly insisted that only tarps without logos from humanitarian agencies will be allowed into the Vanni. Such unnecessary restrictions on assistance are unacceptable in this time of urgent need,” the statement further said.

 

“Tens of thousands of people in flooded areas of the Vanni are without adequate shelter and need help now. The Sri Lankan government should stop playing games with aid organizations and let them get on with their life-saving work,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

 

Prior to the cyclone striking Sri Lanka, the humanitarian community repeatedly warned that living conditions for the displaced population trapped in the Vanni were deteriorating and urgently needed to be addressed.

 

“The Sri Lankan government has prevented aid agencies from assisting thousands of desperate people in the Vanni,” said Adams. “Now is the time for the authorities to rethink these restrictions on humanitarian activities or be held responsible for the resulting deaths and suffering.”

 



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