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HelpAge assists 2,400 flood-affected families

HelpAge Executive Director Samantha Liyanawaduge distributing food items

HelpAge Sri Lanka launched an Emergency Response Project for the benefit of over 2,400 flood and landslide affected families in Ratnapura, Kalutara, Matara and Galle districts last week.

HelpAge distributed a large stock of food and other items worth over Rs. three million to nearly 10,000 flood and landslide victims at Kapugampitiya in Ratnapura, Ihala Naragala, Pahala Naragala, Vilapahala, Kirimatiwalakada, Bulathsinhala, Ratiyala and a temporary camp located at Koboke Tamil School in Bulathsinhala in the Kalutara District.

Flood and landslide victims in Aluttanayangoda Ihala, Mapalagama in Galle and Akurassa, Maramba, Athuraliya and Malimbada in Matara District also received essential items. The project was funded by HelpAge Sri Lanka and HelpAge International, United Kingdom.

The items distributed were rice, dhal, sugar, milk powder, tea, canned fish, water bottles, sarongs, clothes, t-shirts, bed sheets, mats, towels, sanitary towels, candles, toothpaste, soap etc. The programme was conducted under the guidance of HelpAge Sri Lanka Chairman Tilak de Zoysa.

HelpAge Executive Director Samantha Liyanawaduge highlighted the importance of helping flood victims at this crucial juncture. He said HelpAge estimates nearly 100,000 elderly people were affected due to this sudden disaster.

Quoting the Disaster Management Centre, Liyanawaduge said over 700,000 people including a large number of elders were homeless due to floods and landslides. Nearly 360 safe locations were set up for the displaced.

He said the HelpAge distribution was carried out for three days with the participation of HelpAge staff and members of the Senior Citizens Committees in the areas.

“The situation prompted us to carry out continuous programmes to distribute food, drinking water, sanitary and other food items to families of elderly people during their stay in temporary camps,” Liyanawaduge said.

HelpAge Sri Lanka Programme Manager Chaminda de Silva said HelpAge has also planned to implement another programme to provide household and hardware items to construct damaged houses in these districts to support, especially the elders and their families, affected by the disaster. The financial assistance is expected from HelpAge International, UK.