Protestant Groups Aid Sri Lankan Flood Victims

As massive flooding on the island nation of Sri Lanka continues for the second month, several Protestant relief groups have come to the aid of the nearly 1 million people who have been affected and displaced.

"Nearly 1.2 million flood-affected people in Sri Lanka are in need of your prayers. This disaster has struck silently, barely reaching our North American media, yet it is a very real and urgent need for the people of Sri Lanka," said Wayne de Jong, director of Disaster Response for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CWRC).

The floods, which began in January, are the worst in Sri Lanka's history, and have displaced nearly 300,000 people and killed 43.

The waters have also destroyed an estimated 21 to 36 percent of the country's crops. In some heavily affected areas like Batticaloa, estimates are as high as 80 to 95 percent.

"The magnitude of the damage caused by these floods is exceeded only by that of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami," says a press release from Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD).

Providing food, shelter and other basic living essentials are now the focus of groups like the CRWRC and ERD. Others are also encouraging farmers to muster hope to prepare for the next harvest season which starts in March.

Untold suffering has been the norm for decades for the Sri Lankan people, who lost over 30,000 people in the 2004 tsunami and nearly three times as many in their 25-year civil war, which ended in 2009.

On Tuesday, the European Union announced that it would be sending some 700,000 Euros of food aid to the country through the World Food Program.

"Before the floods, many conflict-affected families were attempting to resume agricultural activities after returning to their homes. Now they have been hit by another calamity and will need food and other humanitarian assistance in the months ahead if they are to fully rebuild their lives," said WFP representative Adnan Khan.

EU ambassador Bernard Savage has warned that the flooding may not be over yet.

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