HFH Sri Lanka Distributes Emergency Shelter Kits To Flood-Affected Families

January 31st, 2011

Distribution In Worst-Hit Batticaloa District Includes Clean Up Kits

(Above) Affected families collected clean up kits distributed by Habitat in Batticaloa. (Below) A woman and her child wading through flood waters in Batticaloa.

BATTICALOA, 31st January 2011: Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka is distributing emergency shelter kits and clean up kits to victims of heavy flooding in Batticaloa district in the east of the country.

An initial 100 clean up kits and 50 emergency shelter kits are being distributed by staff from HFH Sri Lanka’s Habitat Resource Center in Batticaloa, the worst-affected area.

The shelter kits comprise galvanized iron roof sheeting, a lantern and plastic sheeting. The items will help families whose homes were damaged by the floods.

Cleaning kits consist of a plastic bucket, a broom, a scrub brush, a toilet cleaner, hand soap and laundry soap will also be distributed to families to clean up the interior of their homes.

Habitat staff members are distributing the kits to affected communities in Vakarai, Kayamkermy, Kermynagar and Kathiraveli villages in Batticaloa.

These kits are among the 600 shelter kits and another 600 cleaning kits which are funded by a grant from the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission through HFH Great Britain,

Continuous rains since 26th December 2010 have led to floods, land and rock or mud slides, mainly in the eastern, northeastern and central parts of Sri Lanka.

More than one million people are affected by the floods. Of the 367,000 people who are estimated to be displaced from their homes, just under half of them are in Batticaloa.

Government statistics showed that more than 1,200 homes in Batticaloa were destroyed while over 3,460 houses were partially damaged.

S. Shanthirakaram is among those who received shelter kits from Habitat. The forty-six-year-old fisherman and his family of seven lived in a thatched house in Thiraimdhu village, Batticaloa.

Shanthirakaram with his family (above) outside their thatched hut after a new roof was put by Habitat staff (below).

The roof of his house was badly damaged after weeks of heavy rains and floods. He had to relocate his family to a temporary shelter for more than two weeks.

“It was very difficult for us,” he said. “There was no way we could have stayed in the house. Not only was it unsafe but I was worried for the children with so much water around us.”

Shanthirakaram’s fears were allayed recently when Habitat helped to replace the water logged thatched roof of his house over the weekend. In two hours, a new roof was installed.

“I’m very thankful to Habitat for providing us with the new roof and heavy plastic sheeting which we can use for the flooring and the lantern so we can have light in the evenings.”

Justus Gregory, coordinator of HFH Sri Lanka’s resource center in Batticaloa, said: “This is our first disaster response since our tsunami projects of 2005-2008. With so many families affected by the flood, it is good to be able to help the neediest of families who suffered extensive damage to their homes.

“The roofing materials we provided will have long-term use for the families who wish to rebuild their homes at a later time.

“I feel confident that we are helping families in need and we will continue to help until we have reached the goal. We do the best we can for those who need our assistance.”

Since 1994, HFH Sri Lanka has built more than11,500 houses, including over 3,800 houses for families affected by the December 2004 Asian tsunami.