As the Water Recedes: Sri Lanka Rebuilds
By Vishalini Chandara Sagar
Tropical cyclone Roanu hit Sri Lanka on 15 May 2016 causing severe flooding and numerous landslides across the country. As Sri Lanka picks up the pieces and rebuilds, it is critical to evaluate the efficacy of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operations to better prepare the country in disaster management.
A DEPRESSION in the Bay of Bengal caused tropical cyclone Roanu which triggered floods and landslides across the emerald isle. It left in its trail buried villages and homeless people. The floods have been described to be the worst disaster in the Indian Ocean since the 2004 Tsunami.
Authorities claimed that the torrential rains caused destruction in 22 out of 25 Sri Lankan districts including its capital, Colombo. According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, an estimated 500,000 people were directly affected by the disaster and about 307,000 people were forced to flee their homes because of the floods. Most of them have now taken refuge in many safe locations such as schools, temporary camps and with friends and relatives. The disaster also claimed the lives of at least 104 people, with another 99 still missing.
On 25 May 2016, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) reported that a total of 128,000 houses have been affected by the cyclone, with 30,000 requiring reconstruction or rehabilitation.