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Habitat Team Assesses the Devastated Sri Lankan East Coast

January 12, 2005

BANGKOK, 12th January 2005:Teams are facing difficulties trying to assess the damage and needs of tsunami-devastated areas of Sri Lanka’s east coast.

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A medical team set out today to find out what has happened to communities south of Batticaloa.

Habitat photojournalist Mikel Flamm is joining a second team from the Batticaloa’s Habitat affiliate, which sets off tomorrow (Thursday 13th January). They will undertake a five-day trek to ascertain what has happened to Habitat homeowners and others in three locations.

“The roads are out so it’s hard to get there,” said Flamm. “The best way is either by four-wheel drive or motorbike.”

The first location the Habitat team will visit is Kallaru, 30 kilometers south of Batticaloa. “People lost their homes, as the area is coastal, but no one knows the number of injured or dead yet because no one from outside has been there,” says Flamm.

The Habitat team then plans to head 40km further to Akkaraippattu, and then Thirukovil, 15 kilometers down the coast. Parts of the area are being supplied with food and supplies by helicopter.

Previously, much of the area was controlled by the separatist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) or Tamil Tigers.