Sri Lanka: Floods and Landslides - Office of the UN Resident Coordinator Flash Update (29 May 2017)
As of 29 May (16:00, UTC+5:30), severe weather conditions have affected an estimated 557,500 people in 15 districts across Sri Lanka. Over the past three days, 177 people have been killed by floods and landslides with 109 people still missing according to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC). Over 400 houses have been destroyed, 5,200 houses partially damaged and 75,000 people are temporarily displaced in safe locations – 38,300 displaced people are in Rathnapura District
Based on previous emergencies, drinking water and non-food items (NFIs) were identified as immediate needs by the National Disaster Relief Services Centre. The full extent of damage and needs is expected to be more clear once additional areas become accessible. The DMC has activated the International Space Charter Centre to obtain satellite imagery to support analysis of the flood damage. Cloud coverage, however, is constraining collection of images.
Five major river basins (Attanagalu, Gin, Kalani, Kalu and Nilwala) remain flooded. Water levels in Baddegama, Putupaula continue to increase. The Police Head Quarters announced that the Bolgoda Dam is at high risk of collapsing putting at risk Bandaragama, Panadura and surrounding areas.
Mobile networks remain disrupted due to power failure. Electricity was cut in Avissawella, Bulathsinhala, Eheliyagoda, Embilipitiya, Kahawatta, Ratnapura and Ruwanwella districts as a safety measure due to the floods.
All schools in Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kegalle, Matara and Ratnapura will remain closed until 2 June according to the Ministry of Education.
The Government continue search and rescue operations and have prioritized evacuation of people in high risk areas. Evacuation notices were issued in 33 divisional secretariats and surrounding areas in Galle, Hambantota, Kegalle, Kalutara, Matara, Nuwara Eliya and Ratnapura districts.
To date, over 1,000 people have been rescued by the Sri Lanka Armed Forces and police. India has also deployed military assets and rescue teams to support the national response.
Authorities confirmed that no additional international search and rescue teams are required for the moment; however, should the situation worsen, the requirement will be reviewed. Following a call for flood rescue assistance on 26 May, seven international search and rescue teams are currently monitoring the situation with two teams ready to deploy upon receipt of official request.
Over the past several days, bilateral assistance was provided to the Government and national partners. On 28 May, China announced that a US$2.2 million in emergency humanitarian disaster relief goods (including tents, blankets and other NFIs) will be donated to communities affected by the floods and landslides. In addition, the Red Cross Society of China granted $100,000 in emergency cash grant to the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society. The United States also indicated it will provide 15 million rupees ($98,000) for the emergency response. Pakistan indicated additional relief goods are being mobilized.
On 29 May, an ad hoc Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) meeting was convened to take stock of the ongoing response and existing in-country capacity to provide additional support. HCT member partners are supporting ongoing rescue operations and have donated hygiene kits, jerry cans, water purification tablets for distribution by local authorities. The HCT is also providing technical support to line ministries on information management, analysis and coordination of medical teams.
The next Flash Update will be issued on or around 30 May.
For more information, contact:
Alex Suwitra, Emergency Response Coordination Assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org