Sri Lanka: WHO Situation report - 1 Floods – May 2017 (27.05 2017)
- General overview and weather
The South West monsoon established over the country on the 25th of May 2017 with heavy rains that could reach 500 mm in 24 hours in some areas, and 300 mm in others. On the 27th of May at 9:30am, the water level had risen until 15.44 meters in the Kelani river in Glencourse gauging point in the upper catchment area and some gauging points were submerged in the Nitwala river in the Southern part of the country. Eight gauging spots are signaling floods as of 27 May 2017. The water levels at Putupaula (Kalu river) and Baddegama (Gin river) the level is still on the rise.
- Current disaster situation
As of data released by the government on 27.05.2017, fourteen districts are currently affected by the rainfalls. The worst affected areas are located in the Southern Province (132 452 persons affected), the Western Province (41 433 persons affected) and the Sabaragamuwa Province (6 003 persons affected). At the same time, Eastern, Northern and the Central Provinces are also experiencing negative consequences of the South West Monsoon.
The worst affected district in terms of the numbers affected is Galle. A total of 128,047 people are affected in 17 Divisional Secretariat (DS) areas. Several people have sustained injuries and 71 houses have been fully damaged. In terms of deaths, the highest death toll is reported from Ratnapura with 46 confirmed deaths. In Ratnapura, eight DS divisions are affected with the number of persons affected being 1,168. In Kalutara 30,584 people are affected with 38 persons confirmed dead. The total number missing in Kalutara remains at 80. In Gampaha, 3 Divisional Secretariat areas and 19,535 people are affected. Floods are reported in 4 Divisional Secretariat areas in the district of Colombo where 10,849 people are affected. In Matara, Kegalle, Hambantota, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Mulaitivu, Vavuniya, Kandy and Matale, 35 DS divisions and 10,199 people are affected by the inclement weather conditions. Fourteen deaths are also reported from these districts with 19 missing to-date.
In total, the number of people affected is 200 382. 100 persons have lost their lives and 99 remain missing. The tri-forces are continuing search and rescue operations round the clock. The affected are housed in 69 safe locations, especially in the Southern, Western and Sabaragamuwa Provinces.
Effect on the healthcare network The healthcare institution network is also affected by the current inclement weather conditions. As of 27 May 2017, the MoH reported partially / fully evacuating 5 hospitals due to the floods and risk of landslides. Among them are Base and Divisional hospitals. The reports are still being received due to the inundation of many areas and a full assessment is yet to be carried out. Several hospitals have reported breakdown in electricity and water supplies. The public health service provision in the field is affected.
- Weather forecast
The rainfalls peak was on Friday 26th but 100mm of rain are expected to occur in some areas for the rest of the week. Hence, the warnings will remain as there are still risks of landslides due to wet slopes. Strong winds are also expected over the island.
- Health Response
The Ministry of Health called an emergency relief coordination meeting and is in communication with the different focal points in the affected areas. The Emergency Operations Center of the Disaster Preparedness and Response Division is functioning 24/7 to coordinate the response. In addition, the Sub-National level EOC setup in Ratnapura is also functional, coordinating the relief work at the sub-national level.
- WCO support
WCO is liaising closely with the MoH and assisting the government to provide critical healthcare services for the survivors keeping the healthcare institution network operational. The main areas for support are medical team deployment, strengthening surveillance of communicable diseases, provision of mental health and psychosocial support for survivors and support health promotion in camps with the objective of preventing any outbreaks. The WCO is seeking assistance from the South East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund to provide assistance to the government.