Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka lauds the work of Red Cross volunteers in the aftermath of the recent floods & landslides

19/08/2016 – Aranayake, Sri Lanka: The Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Her Excellency Shelly Whiting while touring the temporary camp centre for the displaced from the recent landslide in Aranayake, lauded the continuing work of Red Cross volunteers in the aftermath of the disaster. 3 months on she said that it was crucial to ensure continuity of support for the people affected.

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In a tweet, soon after the visit to the camp site she said, she got the opportunity to witness the partnership of local humanitarian workers as the transitional phase continues to take place after the disaster.

The Dutch Ambassador to Sri Lanka Her Excellency Joanne Doornewaard also joined the Canadian High Commissioner in this visit.

The Director General of Sri Lanka Red Cross Neville Nanayakkara, the Head of Country Office of International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Igor Dmitryuk and the Branch Executive Officer of SLRCS Kegalle Branch Ananda Uyanwatta were also present.

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The objective of this visit was to gain a first hand knowledge of as to how the rebuilding and reconstruciton and more so the transition process is continuing in Aranayake following the landslide.

SLRCS Volunteers were among the first responders when the incident occurred three months back, assisting survivors.  As of now over 800 families are been relocated to a temporary camp site where they are housed at until a permeant  settlement is constructed. Acquiring land in order to resettle has become a major concern at the moment as a safe location is yet to be determined. The Government believes that they will have to begin negotiations with some families that lost everything to see the possibility of resettling towards another area.

In yesterday’s (18th) visit, both Ambassadors were given the opportunity to visit the Halmassa and Moragammana temporary camps and the Viyaneliya First Aid Camp by the Red Cross. They also visited the location of the landslide and engaged with people of the area.

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The Government of Canada has provided CAD $310,000  (approximately 35 million LKR) in support to humanitarian relief efforts in Sri Lanka in response to the May 2016 flooding and landslides.  This funding was disbursed through the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund (CHAF) and the Emergency Disaster Assistance Fund (EDAF) of Global Affairs Canada and will support those most affected by the unprecedented rainfall and devastating floods in May 2016 which has resulted in tragic loss of life, injuries, missing, displaced and damages.  Canadian funding will support up to 62,000 people.

From this allocation $150,000 will support Oxfam’s and Sri Lanka Red Cross Society’s humanitarian response in Sri Lanka. The four month project (May 20-September 20, 2016)  will focus on the sectors of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), non-food items, and cash transfers (cash-for-work for debris clearing) and will assist up to 2,000 families (IDP camps and host families) in the districts of Gampaha, Kegalle, Rathnapura and Puttalam.

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