Sri Lanka

UNICEF Sri Lanka Humanitarian Situation Report #4, 8 June 2017

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Highlights:

With the start of the Southwest monsoon on 25 May 2017, Sri Lanka received heavy rainfall in its southern and western regions, with some parts getting over 500 mm rainfall. Flash floods and landslides continue to affect over 603,105 people and displaced over 14,655 people as of 8 June 2017. So far 212 deaths have been reported and 78 people still remain missing due to the disasters. Galle, Kalutara, Matara and Ratnapura are the worst-affected districts.

  • As flood waters recede, people return to their houses and the temporary camps in flooded-affected areas are closed. The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) reported a significant decrease in the number of people in safe locations. About 14,655 people remain temporarily displaced in 159 safe locations compared to 75,000 people last week.

  • While average rainfall is beginning to decrease, landslide warnings are in effect for Ratnapura, Kalutara, Galle, Kegalle, Matara, Nuwara Eliya and Hambantota districts.

  • The DMC reported that the Government has released a grant of LKR 166 million (US$ 1 million) for the flood response, including the provision of cooked meals, dry rations, sanitary goods, and infant food. Meanwhile, the National Insurance Trust Fund has paid LKR 116 million (US$763,000) in compensation for damaged houses in a few districts while assessments are underway in others.

  • To date, UNICEF has mobilized US$ 1,111,570 for emergency response ensuring the safety and security of children and women affected by disasters through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

**Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs **

With the onset of the Southwest monsoon over Sri Lanka, torrential rains – the worst to hit the country since 2003 – inundated the western and southern regions of the country. Many incidents of deadly landslides had been reported along with flash floods causing 212 deaths and 78 people missing to date.

Currently, 14,655 people are reported as displaced in 159 evacuation centres. However, this number does not include the people who were stranded in their homes without access to safe locations or those who are sheltering at host families. Therefore, the actual number of people displaced and affected could be significantly higher than reported.

By 10 June the Department of Meteorology predicts a temporary reduction in showery conditions over southern and western parts of the island. On 7 June, the Department of Meteorology announced that there is currently no cyclone or tsunami threat to Sri Lanka, and requested the general public not to panic.

The majority of the schools closed in the severely affected districts during 29 May – 2 June, were re-opened by 5 June. Approximately 15 schools are still being used as temporary evacuation shelters in Sabaragamuwa and Southern provinces. Media reports1 that 29 schools in the Southern Provinces are unable to re-open due to the extensive damage caused by floods and landslides. Many other schools were being cleaned during this week. One school in Deniyaya, Matara district had been closed due to severe landslide risk.

Based on available information, at least 16 hospitals were evacuated fully or partially as facilities were directly affected by the floods or exposed to landslides according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners.

Affected hospitals are evacuating critical patients with the support of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces. Several hospitals in the affected areas are without electricity which has critically impeded their operability.

In the absence of a proper Government-led needs assessment, the initial humanitarian response was planned based on estimations derived from analysing/comparing the demographic data (Census, 2012) and historical flood/landslide statistics (especially May 2016).

On 29 and 30 May, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) conducted field visits and initial assessments in the worst affected divisions (covering about 104,000 people) in Galle, Kalutara, Matara and Rathnapura. Emergency shelter, NFIs, and health services were identified as immediate needs. In assessed safe locations, overcrowding, lack of privacy, lack of NFIs and water and sanitation facilities are key issues.