As communities displaced by flooding and landslides in Sri Lanka’s southwest return home, their needs must be addressed in the immediate and longer-term. Initial Government estimates indicate that priority areas include the implementation of disaster mitigation and prevention programmes, the reconstruction of housing, roads and schools, and the renovation of electricity and water networks. It is vital that immediate humanitarian needs are addressed, whilst ensuring that Disaster Risk Reduction measures inform the recovery of these communities.
A Rapid Impact and Needs Assessment (RINA) will be conducted by the Government of Sri Lanka with UN Agencies and the World Bank. The RINA will be led by the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy and the Ministry of Disaster Management to assess damages and losses in the worst-affected districts. The RINA will also identify and provide support to the Government to collect and analyse data and identify recovery needs, and provide strong recommendations for recovery from the floods and landslides. UNDP has secured US$100,000 to conduct the RINA and will coordinate the production of the report. Completion of the Assessment is expected within six weeks, with a final report published in 5 months.
As of 21 June (1200hrs, UTC+5:30), an estimated 415,600 people are affected in 12 districts, of which approximately 30% are children according to UNICEF. A total of 213 deaths have been confirmed and 76 people remain missing. Over 3,000 houses have been destroyed and 21,000 are partially damaged. Just over 3,400 people remain temporarily displaced in 73 safe locations in affected districts.
From 23 June, more rainfall is expected in the Southwest areas of the country. Strong winds and heavy showers of up to 50mm can be expected in Colombo, Ratnapura, Kegalle and Kalutara districts. The National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) continues to issue landslide watch warnings for areas in Ratnapura, Kegalle, Galle, Kalutara, Matara, Hambantota and Nuwara Eliya districts.
While the southwest districts recover from flooding and landslides, almost 850,000 people remain affected by drought in Sri Lanka’s north and east. The lack of rainfall in these areas has prevented the replenishment of irrigation reservoirs, severely impacting the second harvest of the year. The drought will have a long-term impact on food security, and the Government and humanitarian agencies are continuing to address these impacts through immediate responses and resilience-building interventions.
International assistance through funding or expert technical/in-kind support has been committed by many countries and international partners for flood and landslide response. To date, over 20 countries have provided assistance through funding or in-kind support. Most recently, the US Navy vessel, the USS Lake Erie, departed Colombo after her 400-sailor crew assisted communities in clean-up, food distribution and the repair of wells. Working with local government authorities and the Sri Lanka Red Cross, the crew assisted in repairing 125 wells in Colombo and Galle, and rehabilitating groundwater wells in Kalutara, among other projects.
The UN Humanitarian Country Team launched an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in early June. The ERP outlines the support UN agencies and local and international NGOs are aiming to provide to the 374,000 most severely affected people in seven districts: Galle, Gampaha, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kegalle, Matara and Ratnapura.
As of 22 June, a total of 33 agencies are implementing or preparing health, protection, education, food security, WASH, emergency shelter and NFIs and early recovery activities in nine districts. Many agencies are working closely with Government counterparts at local and national level to ensure the coordinated distribution of relief and effective delivery of recovery projects. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and other national and international humanitarian agencies, alongside the Ministry of Health, are working to prevent the spread of dengue in affected areas.
Additionally, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund has allocated up to US$4 million to address the critical emergency shelter and non-food item, water, sanitation and hygiene, health and food security needs of 120,000 people in Galle, Matara, Kalutara and Ratnapura districts.
This is the final Flash Update from the Office of the Resident Coordinator, unless unexpected developments occur.
For more information, contact:
Alex Suwitra, Emergency Response Coordination Assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org