Sri Lanka: Floods and Landslides - Office of the UN Resident Coordinator Flash Update (31 May 2017)
On 30 May, national disaster management officials reported that water levels are beginning to recede along the major river basins. With less rainfall over the past 24 hours, local authorities with the support from the Sri Lanka Armed Forces and civil society are making progress in clearing roads, facilitating additional relief distributions. Access to remote villages remains a significant challenge.
With forecast of more rains in the coming days, landslide risk advisories remain in effect in Rathnapura, Kegalle, Galle, Kalutara, Matara, Hambantota and Nuwara Eliya districts according to the National Building Research Organization.
Aerial surveys conducted by the Disaster Management Centre confirmed earlier impact satellite imagery from the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters. Galle, Kalutara, Matara and Rathnapura are the worst-affected districts. An analysis of the floods and landslides in 2017 also indicate that the affected areas are the same districts that were severely hit with a similar disaster in 2016.
As of 31 May (18:00, UTC+5:30), the latest official report estimate 630,000 people have been affected across 15 districts. The death toll has risen to 203 deaths and 96 people are still missing.
The floods and landslides have destroyed 1,500 houses, partially damaged 7,600 houses and temporarily displaced 73,560 people in 354 safe locations. The Department of Government Information announced that each house destroyed or damaged will be compensated with a maximum of 2.5 million rupees (US$16,360) by the Government.
A Pakistan naval ship arrived in Sri Lanka with dry rations, medicines, de-flooding pumps and other relief items. The ship also has the capability to provide search and rescue assets including helicopter, rescue boats, medical teams and expert divers. The Republic of Korea also announced a donation of $300,000 in relief goods including family tents, blankets and tarpaulins.
On 30 May, the Spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General through a statement expressed deep concern on the impact of the disaster on the people of Sri Lanka and reiterated the UN’s readiness to scale up support to the Government-led response.
The Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator also held talks with the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission on the ongoing international support in-country. Sri Lanka expressed thanks to UN agencies and Member States for the assistance received so far and noted that further requirements, if needed, will be communicated in the coming days.
The UN Migration Agency (IOM) has deployed three rapid assessment teams to Ratnapura, Galle, Matara and Kalutara. Result of the assessments are expected to further refine the country team’s targeted support. The Emergency Communications Group was also activated on 31 May to ensure coordinated inter-agency messaging on the response.
In the most-affected districts of Galle, Kalutara, Matara and Rathnapura, a total of 14 Humanitarian Country Team partner agencies have been implementing food security, health, emergency shelter and NFIs and child protection activities.
The next Flash Update will be issued on or around 1 June.
For more information, contact: Alex Suwitra, Emergency Response Coordination Assistant, email@example.com