Sri Lanka: Floods and Landslides - Office of the UN Resident Coordinator Flash Update (30 May 2017)

Report
from UN Resident Coordinator for Sri Lanka
Published on 30 May 2017 View Original

Dear colleagues,

The after effects of Tropical Cyclone Mora, in the Bay of Bengal, is being felt across the flood and landslide affected areas. The Department of Meteorology forecast strong winds of about 80 km/h and localized heavy rainfall particularly in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, North Western and Central provinces, where most of the 15 affected districts are located. Additional rains are likely to heighten the risk of more landslides.

As flood waters recede and roads cleared, the Government continues to validate the number of affected people and casualties. As of 30 May (18:00, UTC+5:30), 604,700 people have been affected according to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC).

Confirmed casualties have increased to 194 deaths, 99 people remain missing and 83,200 people are displaced in 376 safe locations. In Rathnapura District alone, 43,000 displaced people are in 181 locations. About 1,400 houses have been destroyed and 7,070 houses partially damaged. These figures are expected to fluctuate as additional information becomes available from the divisional secretariats.

Based on available information, at least 16 hospitals were evacuated fully or partially as facilities were directly affected by the floods or exposed to landslides according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners. Affected hospitals are evacuating critical patients with the support of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces. Several hospitals in the affected areas are without electricity which has critically impeded their operability.

With the increasing number of displaced people and lack of space in safe locations, temporary shelter and ensuring access to health services is needed. Disease surveillance and vector control is also a priority with the risk of communicable diseases. Over the past few months, health partners have recorded a significant increase in dengue cases (53,200 cases with over 125 deaths) compared to annual data from 2016. The Ministry of Health has deployed medical teams mainly in Kalutara, Ratnapura and Galle districts.

On 29 May, the spokesperson of the Sri Lanka military reported that 1,700 troops were mobilized for rescue and relief operations in coordination with the DMC and local authorities. The Armed Forces continue to clear roads including the route from Ratnapura and Kalawana. Troops were also deployed to reinforce the flood retaining wall of the Nilwala River. Unfavourable weather conditions has constrained relief efforts in Kalawana and Athwalthota.

Civil society and private individuals and organizations are actively engaged in the response with in-kind donations provided at set distribution points for delivery by military assets. The Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management, a network linking private companies with humanitarian agencies and the Government, have supported authorities in aerial assessments, military rescue operations and the use of a local mobile-based taxi application to track people who need to be evacuated.

International bilateral assistance continues to be provided to national partners. On 29 May, Japan announced donation of emergency relief goods (tents, plastic sheets, sleeping pads) through the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Australia will also release AUS$500,000 (US$372,400) to meet urgent needs identified by the Sri Lankan Government. The support will include the deployment of inflatable boats to support ongoing search and rescue efforts, delivery of water, safe spaces for children and vital health services to affected women and girls. Teams from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) are en route to Sri Lanka to assess the situation in support of local partner organizations.

On 30 May, the HCT has initiated the development of an in-country response plan to respond to the most immediate needs of the flood and landslide affected communities. A sectoral approach to coordinate the international communities’ immediate response was also endorsed. HCT sector leads were identified for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), emergency shelter and NFIs, health, food and nutrition, protection and education.

According to information reported by Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) partners on 30 May (12:00, UTC+5:30), a total of [12 organizations (including 4 UN agencies) are currently providing support in nine of the 15 districts affected by the floods and landslides](http://reliefweb.int/map/sri-lanka/sri-lanka-floods-and-landslides-3w-op...(.

The next Flash Update will be issued on or around 31 May.

For more information, contact:
Alex Suwitra, Emergency Response Coordination Assistant, asuwitra@gmail.com