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UNICEF hands over drought relief to President Sirisena


Colombo, 29 August 2017 – UNICEF today handed over four water bowsers to His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena in support of the Government of Sri Lanka’s ongoing response to the country’s worst drought in 40 years. Minister of City Planning and Water Supply Hon. Rauf Hakeem, Minister of Disaster Management Hon. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and the State Minister of City Planning and Water Supply Hon. (Dr.) (Mrs.) Sudarshini Fernandopulle were also present.

The four water bowsers, each with the capacity to carry 6,000 liters of safe water, will be sent to the country’s most severely drought affected districts - Polonnaruwa, Gampaha, Ampara and Kandy. The UNICEF assistance is part of a $1.5 million USD (approx. 230 million LKR) package of support for vulnerable children and communities affected by the ongoing drought.

“Drought doesn’t only endanger lives by limiting the availability of safe water, it has multiple knock-on effects such as destroying crops, increasing farmer indebtedness and driving food insecurity” said UNICEF Representative Tim Sutton. “Most importantly, these drastically impact the lives of children, especially the most vulnerable. That’s why it’s so vital for UNICEF to immediately provide essential supplies, as well as investing in long term resilience that enables children and communities to prepare and respond in the event of future water emergencies” he said.

Sri Lanka is facing the impact of climate change with water-related emergencies likely to increase in frequency and severity. In May 2017, Sri Lanka suffered widespread flooding and landslides, the second such emergency in just 12 months. The current drought is impacting over 1.8 million people including an estimated 600,000 children across 20 districts

In response, UNICEF is providing both for the immediate water, sanitation, health and nutrition needs of communities as well as helping them to build longer-term resilience to survive the worst impacts of climate change.

UNICEF is seeking support from donors including the private sector and the public to aid the on-going relief efforts. All interested parties can use text to donate using UNICEF<space>300 to 77100 or email for more info to

About UNICEF: UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work in Sri Lanka visit:




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