Canada aids flood-affected people in Sri Lanka and Colombia

March 14, 2011

Today, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced Canada's support for those affected by flooding in Sri Lanka and Colombia. Over recent months, extreme flooding occurred in both countries, creating humanitarian needs requiring international assistance for those affected.

"Canada responds to help those facing the profound impact of natural disasters around the world," said Minister Oda. "The aftermath of the devastating floods and landslides in Colombia and Sri Lanka continue to threaten the health and safety of those affected."

Sri Lanka

The recent flooding in Sri Lanka has affected more than one million people, destroyed 6,000 homes and damaged another 23,000. At the height of the disaster, more than 320,000 people needed emergency shelter. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is supporting the efforts of CHF (formerly the Canadian Hunger Foundation) Partners in Rural Development, World Vision Canada, and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to assist 524,500 Sri Lankans.

In Sri Lanka, Canada, working with CHF Partners in Rural Development, will help restore the livelihoods and improve the health and physical security of some 20,000 people by providing much-needed household items, hygiene and sanitation awareness training, and seeds, fertilizers and tools to local farmers.

The WFP will provide food assistance to approximately 500,000 people and micronutrient rich commodities to health facilities and support food-for-work initiatives to help the recovery of community livelihoods.

World Vision Canada will re-establish community water and waste disposal systems, as well as provide training to community members in the delivery of hygiene and child protection for approximately 4,500 people.

Colombia

An unusually severe rainy season in Colombia, which began last year, led the Government of Colombia to declare a national calamity. The flooding resulted in country-wide landslides and flooding, leading to over 320 deaths, damaging approximately 359,600 houses, and destroying a further 10,000 homes.

In Colombia, Canada, through CIDA, is supporting the efforts of Oxfam-Québec, Save the Children Canada, and the Canadian Red Cross to provide emergency assistance to more than 35,000 flood-affected Colombians.

Canada is working with Oxfam-Québec to provide assistance to 21,000 mostly rural people in the severest hit areas of Colombia. The project will provide access to safe water and basic sanitation through several activities, including the distribution of water purification items, the rehabilitation of community water systems, and the implementation of safe waste disposal systems.

Save the Children Canada will support the health, well-being and protection of close to 5,000 flood-affected children and their families by ensuring access to clean and potable water, and supporting children's safe return to school.

The Canadian Red Cross will ensure approximately 19,000 people have access to clean water, temporary shelters and other relief items.


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Information:

Justin Broekema
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca


Backgrounder

Sri Lanka

Starting late December 2010, Sri Lanka experienced torrential rains, causing severe flooding and landslides in the eastern and central regions of the country leading to 43 deaths and affecting 1,060,273 people. At the height of the disaster, more than 320,000 individuals in the worst affected areas were displaced into temporary emergency shelters. The disaster further resulted in approximately 6,000 destroyed and 23,000 more damaged.

Rains have subsided and much of the floodwaters have receded, enabling the majority of displaced persons to return home; however, significant humanitarian challenges remain. 

On January 14, 2011, CIDA, through an ongoing CIDA-funded project with the Canadian Red Cross Society, made an automatic $50,000 contribution to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies emergency appeal. The Canadian High Commission also made a $20,000 contribution through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives to a Sri Lankan partner to help bring relief supplies and emergency shelters to approximately 6,000 families. 

A United Nations flash appeal was launched on January 20, 2011, seeking $51 million. 

Canada's assistance to the people affected by the flooding in Sri Lanka includes support to:

  • CHF (formerly Canadian Hunger Foundation) Partners in Rural Developmentto improve the health, physical security, and household livelihoods of 20,000 flood-affected individuals through the provision of household items, the rehabilitation and cleaning of community wells and latrines, and the delivery of hygiene and sanitation awareness training. ($800,000)
  • World Vision Canada to help 4,500 flood-affected persons meet their basic human needs with access to clean water and sanitation services. In addition, World Vision Canada will work toward re-establishing the psychological and emotional well-being of flood-affected children and providing child protection activities. ($200,000)
  • World Food Programme (WFP) to provide food assistance and supplementary food to 500,000 displaced persons. In addition, the WFP will provide micronutrient rich commodities through health facilities to address moderate malnutrition and implement food-for-work initiatives to recover community livelihoods. ($500,000)

Canada's assistance for flood-affected people in Sri Lanka totals $1.5 million.

Colombia

An unusually severe rainy season in Colombia, which began last year and led the Government of Colombia to declare a national calamity, continues to affect the country. Country-wide flooding and landslides have lead to more than 320 deaths, damaging approximately 359,600 houses and destroying a further 10,000. 

Canada's assistance to those flood-affected in Colombia includes support to:

  • Oxfam-Québec to provide access to safe water, basic sanitation through the implementation of safe waste disposal systems, and hygiene promotion to 21,000 mostly rural people in some of the severest hit areas of Colombia. ($400,000)
  • Save the Children Canada to provide health care and improve the well-being and protection of 5,000 flood-affected children and their families by ensuring access to clean and potable water and supporting children's safe return to school. ($350,000)
  • The Canadian Red Cross Society to ensure 19,000 flood-affected people have access to clean water, temporary shelters and other relief items. ($50,000)

Canada's support to the flood-affected people in Colombia totals $800,000.