Sri Lanka

Over 120 killed and half a million affected as weather creates havoc in Sri Lanka; The Red Cross responds: Update 4

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28/05/2017 – Various Locations in Sri Lanka: Inclement weather 48 hours ago has brought in much deluge across the country displacing over half a million people while 122 people have lost their lives to various incidents that has brought in by the rains. The floods are said to be the worst since 2003.

The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society supported by the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has been launching number of activities in order to assist people affected by floods.

In Galle, Matara, Gampaha, Kalutara & Rathnapura Red Cross volunteers engaged in search and rescue operations utilizing boats. Most cities in these districts are flooded and people are cut off from getting any aid or assistance. One of the key services provided by the Red Cross is mobile first aid where volunteers travel by boat and provide this service.

“As always, the Red Cross is the first to respond, mainly because our volunteers are from those affected villages” says President of Sri Lanka Red Cross Jagath Abeysinghe. “When the Government mechanism has figured out an action plan, then the Red Cross volunteers have been there to assist. Our work indeed go hand in hand with the Government”

Meanwhile in all the affected districts steps were taken to distribute cooked food, safe drinking water and nonfood relief items. Over 800 such packs have been distributed thus far. Volunteers were also assisting in camp management in Matara and Galle where ensuring the wellbeing the people were the key focus.

“With the scale of this disaster its not just attending to one thing” says Kolitha Pathirana, the Branch Executive Officer of the SLRCS Galle Branch. “We have to utilize the very limited resources we have in order to get the maximum impact of assisting people who are affected”.

The IFRC has also been providing support to the National Society. Funds have been put aside to be utilized during the emergency phase.

Meanwhile Report issued by the Meteorological Department says that the rains might cease for a couple of days but more rains can be expected with the South – West monsoon establishing completely above the island. The Department expects heavy showers from the 29th of May 2017 onwards.

The National Building Research Organization also extended its landslide watch to 7 districts.