USAID grants US$ 1.5 million to help flood victims in eastern Sri Lanka

May 20, Colombo: The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) under its Food for Peace (FFP) program has granted US$ 1.5 million to help more than 22,000 flood victims in eastern Sri Lanka, the United States Embassy in Colombo announced.

A press statement issued by the US Embassy said under the grant agreement signed last week, the development agency of the U.S. Government will provide assistance to the cash-for-work program where the flood victims are paid for their work in repairing small-scale infrastructure, such as irrigation canals, water tanks and roads.

Not only the program provides the victims with buying power to purchase food and other necessities, but it also fixes the damage caused by the floods and restore services and livelihoods.

This new agreement complements USAID’s February 2011 contribution of $416,300 for food assistance to WFP’s flood response operation in eastern Sri Lanka, the Embassy announced.

Mission Director of USAID Sri Lanka, James Bednar has said the grant will help identify a sustainable solution to food insecurity, secure livelihoods of farmers and resume economic activities in areas affected by the floods.

“In a longer-term, we hope this approach will contribute to the rehabilitation of the infrastructure and assets that are needed to achieve sustainable food security,” Bednar has said.

Recently, the US Government, through USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), has also provided $800,000 to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization to help restore livelihoods of some 40,000 flood-affected farmers and improve food security of the most vulnerable households in the Eastern Province.

Under the grant, flood-affected farmers are receiving rice paddy and other field crop seeds to plant during the dry agricultural season, while households are receiving seed packets to replant home gardens destroyed by floods. In addition, OFDA provided nearly $800,000 to two local organizations, to strengthen food security, restore livelihoods, and provide emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance in the wake of the flooding.

In total, the U.S. Government, through USAID, has contributed nearly $4.5 million, since the beginning of 2011, for flood relief operations in Sri Lanka.

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