Two students killed in motorbike accident in Deiyandara

Two students were killed when their motorbike collided with a passenger bus in Deiyandara today.The Police said the students, aged 16 and 19,  were travelling from Hakmana to Deiyandara when their motorbike crashed into the bus. The victims were identified as Kelum Sandaruwan (16) and Indrajith Kumara (19), both residents of Denagama.The driver of the bus was arrested. (Colombo Gazette)

UN agency appeals to donors to avert hunger crisis in Western Sahel

To avert a humanitarian disaster, WFP said it needed $28 million to quickly purchase food rations to help feed 420,000 people suffering from three consecutive years of severe drought in southern Mauritania, as well as 160,000 people in Cape Verde, The Gambia, Mali and Senegal. According to WFP assessments, 2002 agricultural production in those countries has been so low that in the worst-hit areas, there will not be enough food to cover the needs of the rural population after the end of this month.Manuel da Silva, WFP’s Regional Director for West Africa said the emergency appeal is to assist 580,000 people with 55,000 tons of food over 12 months. “But, WFP needs donations to succeed and those donations are needed urgently,” he added. As unrelenting drought ravages the entire region, “the worst-hit country in the region isMauritania, where people in the poorest regions are facing the biggest food crisis in years and the number of the needy is skyrocketing,” said Mr. da Silva. “The government in Nouakchott has already declared state of emergency and has appealed for international assistance.””Mauritania lies at the epicentre of the food crisis and hundreds of thousands would face starvation unless aid arrives soon,” Mr. da Silva said. “In addition to drought, heavy, out-of-season rains last year killed tens of thousands of livestock on which households depend to make a living during the hungry season starting in February.” People in most rural areas are barely getting by and acute malnutrition is increasing child mortality rates. read more