Colombo, Sri Lanka (18th January 2011) - Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) is currently providing emergency assistance in rapid response to the grave flooding situation that has affected a total of 1,000,000 people in the Eastern, North and Central Provinces of Sri Lanka. Torrential rains beginning 8th January 2010 caused severe flooding and deadly rock and land slides in many parts of the island. The Eastern Province was the worst affected, with the districts of Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee accounting for 98% of the total affected.
Onwards from the 11th January 2011 ASB mobilized staff and dispatched trucks loaded with NFI’s to Batticaloa district. Distribution of NFI kits (including items such as mats, buckets, clothes, kitchen utensils, etc.) is currently ongoing to more than 2,000 families affected by the floods in coordination with the District Secretariat (DS), Government Agent (GA), Disaster Management Centre (DMC) and UNDP. The torrential rain caused main roads to become submerged, greatly hampering access to affected areas; ASB emergency teams however, continue to work tirelessly to ensure that all NFI kits are delivered to the affected persons.
“Since 2005 ASB has played a significant role in providing emergency assistance to the people of Sri Lanka. We are committed to uplifting the lives of Sri Lankans who have been through 26 years of conflict, the tsunami and now the floods. Our teams are working through the night to ensure that the people of Batticaloa will soon have some respite.” said Ralf Nico Thill, ASB Country Director.
Batticaloa was the hardest hit by the floods, where approximately 3,118 houses were totally damaged and another 6,441 partially damaged. In an attempt to escape rising levels of water more than 300,000 people fled their homes taking shelter in emergency shelters, schools, temples and churches.
In cooperation with other actors ASB has pledged it’s commitment to work in a Flash appeal to improve the situation of the thousands displaced. Over the next six months, ASB, funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will implement Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities in the flood affected areas of the District of Batticaloa in order to prevent the outbreak of waterborne diseases and other diarrhea related diseases.
This will include water bowsering, distribution of 3,640 Hygiene kits, well cleaning for a total of 300 wells plus rehabilitation of further 150 wells. Additionally, ASB will disseminate key hygiene messages on hand washing, safe excreta disposal and safe water through Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials and DVD presentations. ASB will also lend its JCB backhoe loader to help with cleanup activities in Batticaloa. As sunny weather prevails again and water levels recede, ASB hopes to assist around 12,500 families (40,000 individuals) through this intervention.