|Thursday, 29 May 2003|
The German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development has given a sum of 50,000 Euro for providing additional services in areas devastated by floods, states a German Technical Cooperation press release.
This is in addition to goods and services worth 400,000 Euro which was immediately provided last week by the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs upon the request of the German Embassy in Colombo.
The German aid package saw the arrival in Sri Lanka of 15 experts from the German Agency for Technical Support (THW), who were accompanied by a plane load of equipment, which included state-of-the-art water purification machinery and special vehicles to access unreachable areas.
The machinery, which is capable of converting muddy water into pure drinking quality water at the rate of 4,000 litres per hour, has been installed in the Galle and Matara districts. The leader of the German team, together with German charge d'affaires Heinz Kopp, has already met with Minister of Power and Energy Karu Jayasuriya to discuss logistics of the relief operation.
According to Dr. Roland Steurer, Country Director for the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) in Sri Lanka, the 50,000 Euro provided by the Ministry of Economic Cooperation & Development will be used primarily for the purpose of distributing the drinking water.
"It would, to some extent ensure that the water reaches the people who need it, rather than people having to travel to get the water," said Dr. Steurer.
GTZ experts, working in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Social Welfare, Divisional Secretaries and the Seva Lanka Foundation, will set up 40 water tanks in the affected areas and distribute water to the tanks using bowsers.
Further, GTZ is looking at providing additional assistance to the flood-ravaged areas, once the waters have subsided, said Eberhard Halbach, a GTZ senior advisor.
According to Mr. Halbach, GTZ will supply material needed for the reconstruction of schools and other social infrastructure that have been damaged or destroyed by the floods. The organization would also launch a programme to clean as many wells as possible, from amongst 80,000 wells in the region that have been polluted.
"We will have to train local staff to clean wells using our equipment," he said, adding that the German assisted relief measures in the affected areas could continue for about six months if funding can be obtained.
Produced by Lake House