The Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Disaster Management are presently conducting a survey with regard to ascertaining information pertaining to those affected by drought and are faced with food insecurity, for the purpose of providing relief.
The National Disaster Relief Services Centre (NDRSC) as per requests made by district secretariats and divisional secretariats are providing monies to them along with the facilities such as tractor and lorry bowsers required for the purpose, in order to distribute drinking water to those affected by the drought. Distribution of drinking water is the main focus of the NDRSC.
The funds provided are utilized for the purpose of extracting water from water sources, paying fuel costs, paying the salaries of drivers and assistants and their overtime pay, hiring drivers on a temporary basis and purchasing and hiring tractor and lorry bowsers and water tanks. The NDRSC has purchased 100 tractor bowsers and distributed 25 while the Presidential Secretariat has distributed 25 more. Out of 16 drought hit districts, presently water is being distributed to 12, while for certain districts water has been distributed and stopped as these districts have experienced a certain rainfall. The NDRSC has distributed 2360 water tanks and have purchased another 2000 to be distributed along with tractor and lorry bowsers as per the need and requirement of the areas.
Addressing the question of food insecurity, Director of the NDRSC, I.C. Pathiraja said that officers of the Ministry of Agriculture at the Grama Niladhari level were presently collecting information on how many farmers and their families and individuals involved in agriculture related work had been affected by the drought or if their agricultural lands and crops had been destroyed by the lack of water which according to a recent yet unpublished sample survey conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP) would acutely affect 900,000 in the country.
Some 600,000 are reported to be children and according to the WFP, one out of five farmers and one out of four farm labourers in the drought region are classified as food insecure with female headed households being the worse hit in terms of access to sufficient food.
The information will be collected by next week.