Sri Lanka

Flooding in Sri Lanka worst since 1947, say Christian Aid partners

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Flooding in Sri Lanka has killed around 280 people and made at least 175,000 others homeless, according to Christian Aid partner National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCC).
One day of unusually heavy rainfall at the start of the monsoon season caused landslides and some villages have been submerged under seven feet of water. 'It's the worst flooding we've seen in 56 years,' says the Reverend Ebenezer Joseph, NCC general secretary.

The flooding is concentrated in the Ratnapura, Matara and Galle areas in the south of Sri Lanka. Since it happened 10 days ago, lack of access for those bringing in relief supplies has been one of the main problems. Long stretches of road were swept away by the surge of water.

'We have now started cleaning out the wells so that people can have clean drinking water. Clean water is becoming increasingly necessary. Babies and children are being affected with waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea,' he says.

NCC is providing immediate relief for more than 2,000 families. Rations of rice, sugar, dhal and flour have been distributed and temporary sheds with coconut-leaf roofs constructed.

Mr Joseph says the NCC is also planning to give long-term assistance to the area. Disaster management training - teaching construction techniques, for example - will be instigated in 11 villages, in a bid to ensure than another flood would not take the same toll.

Christian Aid has made a US$10,000 contribution towards NCC's flood-relief work.