Last December’s tsunami exacted a toll of a different kind, increasing the numbers of disabled people who now have to grapple with limited opportunities to help them.
Local data is still being collected, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates for all tsunami hit regions, there is a 20 percent increase in the number of people with disabilities.
“In Sri Lanka as a result of the war alone, more than 10,000 ex-service personnel in Sri Lanka are disabled.
The tsunami according to estimates has also significantly increased the number of people with disability,” Country Director for the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Claudia Coenjaerts said.
The tsunami washed away coastal towns in thirteen districts of Sri Lanka, killed 30,000 people and displaced half a million.
Over 23,000 were injured and a third suffering mental distress.
Less able to flee from a disaster, disabled people are also likely to be disproportionately represented among those who died, though no estimates