Sri Lanka: Floods - Information bulletin n° MDRLK01, 27 May 2018

This bulletin is being issued for information only, and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) is coordinating closely with government authorities, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) for floods response. In view of the humanitarian needs, DREF is being requested and is in the pipeline.

The situation

The southwest monsoon weather conditions have caused rainfalls since 19 May 2018 in the southwest parts of the island. By 21 May, the precipitation triggered a flood and landslide situation in the country, which has affected thousands of lives and livelihoods, as well as caused property damage. According to the situation update by the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) of Sri Lanka, as of 1200 hours of 26 May 2018, a total of 153,7121 people in 19 districts have been affected and 20 people have died due heavy rains, strong winds, lightening and landslides. People in flood-risk areas have been evacuated to safe locations. Approximately 14,437 families have been evacuated into 265 welfare centres in ten districts. Puttalam, Kegalle, Kalutara, Ratnapura, Gampaha and Colombo are amongst the worst affected districts.

According to Meteorological Department of Sri Lanka, the southwest monsoon is still suppressed by the persisting wind circulation and is expected to be more settled by the middle of next week.

The Disaster Management Centre is coordinating response activities and rescue operations with the three branches of the country’s armed forces and the police through District Secretariats and District Disaster Management Coordinating Units. Alerts have been issued by both National Building Research Organization (NBRO) and the Water and Irrigation Department requesting the public to remain cautious regarding the possibility of landslides or overflowing river banks due to over high levels of water in rivers.

The government of Sri Lanka and district administrative units are leading the response to the floods and landslide across the country. International non-governmental organisations (INGOs) also are working on the response interventions. The National Disaster Relief Services Centre (NDRSC) has provided 38.66 million Sri Lankan rupees (approx. CHF 241,000) cash allocations to the 12 District Secretaries to address the immediate needs of the affected populations. Rescue operations are underway in which Sri Lankan Navy boats and Air Force helicopters have been dispatched to assist the operations. The DMC has established a 24-hour hotline to address the needs of the affected communities, as well as initiated a satellite-based disaster response support system to support the response operations.