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ACT Alliance Alert: Floods in Sri Lanka

Source: ACT Alliance - Switzerland - Tue, 10 Jun 2014 17:00 GMT
Author: Elisabeth Gouel
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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Alert   

Sri Lanka

Floods in Sri Lanka

Geneva, 10 June 2014

1.    Brief description of the emergency and impact

Incessant torrential rains continued heavy downpour from 1 June until evening of 4 June, and caused severe damages mainly to Southern part of Sri Lanka. According to the Disaster management Centre, the rains have had serious impact in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, North Western and Central provinces, causing displacement of 27,243 people (7952 families) due to rains, floods, landslides/mudslides and high winds lightning. The preliminary estimates have reported 22 deaths, full damage to 72 houses and partial damage to 349, and nine people are reportedly missing. The Director Meteorological department has predicted further heavy rainfall has been predicted which would worsen with the onset of the Southeast Monsoons.  The coastal areas from Galle to Potuvil will face rough weather with the likely wind speed up to 60 kmph at times .

The Kalutara district, in the Western province, is the worst affected. A total of 14 out of 22 deaths have occurred here. The low lying areas in the districts of Agalawatte, Palinda Nuwara, Bulathsunhala, Mathugama, Welipanna, Molkawaw, Palawatte, and Omantha are still submerged. The newly constructed Southern High Way is also reported to be flooded. The Aswatte Junction on the Colombo – Avisssawella road is flooded with water to a height 8 feet, due to the overflow of Aswatte Canal forcing the closure of shops and disrupting the lives of the people in the area. Due to the risk of landslide, in house patients and staff of the District Hospital, Meehahatanne have been evacuated, causing the stoppage of work at the hospital. It also reported that 137 schools have also been closed in the western province.

2.    Why is an ACT response needed

Heavy rains have severely impacted lives in the Western and Southern Provinces, and caused invaluable damages to property and infrastructure. The affected people now rely on external support to revive normalcy. Rains and forecasted bad weather could cause additional risks to the displaced and particularly to those who are without shelters. Immediate response is thus required for such vulnerable families, particularly to women headed households and households with vulnerable people.

3.    National and international response

So far, 2576 displaced people from 598 families have been accommodated in the camps, managed by the government. The government has also allocated initial funds to meet immediate relief needs and also meet the funeral expenses. The Sri Lankan army, air force and navy are continuing rescue operations.

The Sri Lankan society has also mobilized local contribution to assist the affected people. The International Federation of Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and other Red Cross societies too are ready to assist.

4.    ACT members’ response & planned activities

In addition to National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCC SL), Diakonia is the only other ACT member based in Sri Lanka. Diakonia focuses on Development programmes and has no immediate plans to intervene in this response. The member churches of NCCSL have already started responding with provision of cooked food while carrying out assessment in other areas. The emergency relief unit of the Church of Ceylon has sent alert to designated people in vulnerable areas, who in turn has disseminated it further so as necessary precautionary steps could be taken.

NCC SL has planned to augment its immediate lifesaving support through Rapid Response Fund (RRF), to be sought from ACT Alliance. A RRF proposal is being prepared now.

5.    Constraints

No major constraints can be perceived at this juncture.   

Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to Jean-Daniel Birmele, Director of Finance (jbi@actalliance.org)

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