Abu Dhabi: Sri Lankan diplomatic missions in the UAE are collecting funds and relief materials for victims of one of the worst floods in Sri Lanka.

According to media reports, the devastating floods which struck eastern Sri Lanka in mid-January affected about 1 million people and made more than 400,000 homeless. The victims barely had time to start recovering, when they were hit by a second wave of flooding in early February. This time 1.2 million people were affected and another 400,000 displaced, the reports said.

Positive response

The Sri Lankan Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General in Dubai have appealed to Sri Lankan expatriates in the country to help their distressed brethren back home, Sarath Wijesinghe, Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News yesterday. He said he has already sent appeals to the community groups and they responded positively.

About 200,000 Sri Lankans are living in the UAE and most of them are in Dubai and Northern Emirates, Wijesinghe said

He urged the community members to give cash and relief materials only to the embassy and the consulate as individuals or other organisations are not authorised to undertake such operations.

The missions will issue receipts against the contributions, which will be sent to the Sri Lankan Disaster Management Ministry in Colombo, the ambassador said.

He said a group of Sri Lankan engineers working in the UAE has expressed their willingness to visit the flood-affected areas and help the reconstruction of houses.

Clothes, food items

Wijesinghe said the UAE Red Crescent said that it would work with the International Committee of the Red Cross to help the victims.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Consulate General in Dubai received cash contributions and a huge amount of relief materials from the community members, which will be sent to Colombo, M.M. Abdul Rahim, the Consul General told Gulf News yesterday. The materials include clothes, food items including rice, flour and milk powder, he said.

Sri Lankan Embassy in Abu Dhabi:

- Email: lankemb@emirates.net.ae, slemblab@emirates.net.ae

Consulate General in Dubai:

-  Amal Dassajnayake: 050-2836682
Email: condubai@slcgdxb.ae


  • 200,000 Sri Lankans living in UAE
  • 1.6 million affected by floods in Sri Lanka

Giving access to large community never turned a disturbance, ambassador says

Abu Dhabi: In rare move , Sarath Wije Singhe, Sri Lankan Ambassador ,published his mobile number in the embassy newsletter, asking the community members in the UAE numbering around 200,000, to contact him anytime for any assistance.

"But nobody disturbed me with any unnecessary complaints during the last eight months," he told Gulf News.

Singhe said those who had the complaints or grievances were patient enough to deal with his office, without disturbing him personally.

He requested the community to visit the embassy's website regularly and read the monthly newsletter to keep themselves updated about latest events.

Web : www.srilankaembassyuae.com

Unending woes

Victims were recuperating from 2004 Tsunami and recently ended civil war

Abu Dhabi: Many of the people who have been affected by floods are the same who were affected by the tsunami in December 2004, media reports quoted UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Neil Buhne. "Many of them, about 200,000 roughly are people who also were affected by the conflict and had been displaced. When the rains stopped, bulk of the people who were displaced have returned home, but the consequences of the floods remain."

Buhne said the victims also include people who were caught up in the later stages of the long-running civil war between the government and Tamil Tigers.

He says about 300,000 people were displaced by the fighting in early 2009. Most were interned in government-controlled camps. He says people began returning home in October 2009 to areas, which now are reeling from the floods.