ACT Alert: Sri Lanka Floods

Report
from ACT Alliance
Published on 02 Jan 2013 View Original

1. Brief description of the emergency and impact

The incessant rain for continuous two weeks has caused floods and landslides across Sri Lanka disturbing the normal life of many people. In some areas, the flooding followed a prolonged period of drought, which has already impacted the people adversely. The flooding and landslides have been accompanied by strong wind as well, which has, so far, resulted into 39 deaths and 20 injuries. Seven people are still reported to be missing. As of 28 December 2012, 31861 displaced people live in 184 centres. The worst affected districts are Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa, Puttalam and Kilinochchi.

2. Why is an ACT response needed?

The continuous rain has breached the bunds of nearly 200 irrigation tanks and the paddy field in many areas have been severely affected. According to the Agriculture ministry there has been extensive damage to standing crops. The floods and landslides have affected 65,193 people, and 23,503 people are residing in temporary camps. The Meteorological Department has predicted continuous heavy rainfall which will further deteriorate the condition.

The areas in which the Members of the ACT Forum Sri Lanka operate have been severely affected and many people have sought refuge in churches and nearby buildings. The livelihoods of people have been very much affected and in some areas the cultivation is completely destroyed. A detailed assessment is not yet possible as areas are inaccessible due to landslides. However, cooked food, dry rations and NFI seem to be an imminent priority. The displaced families are in need of cooked food. As the waters recede and people return back to their homes, there will be necessity for clothing, kitchen utensils, etc., to be provided. Dry rations will have to be provided for at least two weeks. As the schools are scheduled to begin in another ten days time for the new academic year children will also be in need of basic educational material.

3. National and international response

The government has taken many steps for providing immediate relief, which includes providing cooked food. Airdropping of food packets and NFI is being done in the inaccessible areas. Still the needs are vast and despite the government provisions, many needs are still unmet. The provincial governments have requested NGOs to get involved in the relief efforts and to support the affected people in all possible manners. Several national and international organizations are also engaged in relief activities. It is challenging to initiate response in remote and inaccessible areas. The military has been engaged for airdropping of relief material in such areas.

4. ACT Alliance response

In response to the acute unmet needs the Sri Lanka ACT Forum Members, including National Christian Council Sri Lanka (NCC SL), have initiated their response by advancing some funds to member churches to provide cooked food and dry ration to the worst affected people. The forum is in the process of developing a preliminary appeal with the intention of scaling up the humanitarian response.

5. Planned activities

NCC SL has planned to provide cooked food to 1,150 families through local partners and churches. Furthermore, food packets will be provided to 5,000 families consisting rice, soya meat, fish, lentils, etc. NFI kit will also be provided to the same number of families, including cooking utensils.

It is too early to plan for early recovery activities as detail assessment is not yet possible. However, NCC SL will try developing these activities as soon as the assessment and consultation become possible.

6. Constraints

Many areas are still cut-off and inaccessible. Airdropping is the only option to provide any assistance in such areas. It is expected that the transportation would improve in coming days and these areas would become accessible for detailed assessment and provision of relief.