23/05/2016 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society volunteers continues to provide relief, rescue and aid support to over 300,000 people affected from flash floods and landslides in Sri Lanka.
In the recent days Colombo & Gampaha Districts were the worst affected. Most areas in the district were still underwater with people in the area being stranded. Red Cross Colombo & Gampaha branches were conducting search and rescue efforts to people in the area.
Over 80 first aid and medical clinics were set up by the Red Cross during the past few days, providing much needed medical support to the people.
Up to date 92 people have been killed from flash floods & landslides in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile rapid assessments are currently underway in Colombo, Gampaha, Kegalle, Puttalam & Rathnapura districts to identify immediate needs of the people affected. Red Cross volunteers have been visiting camps, houses and temples where people affected are housed at in order to carry out the assessments.
Donations to SLRCS
Meanwhile a there is a massive response to the donation appeal by Sri Lanka Red Cross. Many people have donated requested items, where as most of them were sent to Colombo & Gampaha district for distribution.
The Red Cross Society of China also donated 50,000 USD for flood and relief operations of the Sri Lanka Red Cross in the aftermath of floods and landslides.
Mrs. Pang Chunxue, Political Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, on behalf of the Red Cross Society of China handed over the donation to Mr. S.B.Madugalle, Deputy Director General of SLRCS.
Mrs. Pang extended the deepest sympathy and condolences to the Sri Lankan people especially the families affected by the disaster. She hoped the donation could assist the current relief operation of SLRCS and provide help to the people in the disaster-affected areas.
Meanwhile the Turkish Red Crescent Society also sent stocks of tents, blankets and search lights to Sri Lanka Red Cross Society. The stock was received at the airport by the Director General of SLRCS Neville Nanayakkara.
The Turkish Ambassador to Sri Lanka His Excellency Mr. Tunca Özçuhadar handed over the relief stock to SLRCS on behalf of the Turkish Red Crescent. Afterwards the Red Cross handed over the stocks to the Government of Sri Lanka and to the Minister of Disaster Management Anura Priyadharshana Yapa.
Also the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation also donated stocks of relief items to the Red Cross. It’s Mr. Nanda Muruttetuwegama handed over the stocks to President of SLRCS Jagath Abeysinghe.
19/05/2016 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: Since the beginning of the week large areas of Sri Lanka have been deluged by torrential rains caused by a slow moving tropical depression in the Bay of Bengal which has brought Flash floods and landslides to 22 of the countries 26 districts.
An estimated 500,000 people have been directly affected with some places experiencing up to 300 mm of rainfall. According to the governments Disaster Management Centre, 43 people have been killed and close to 307,000 people displaced by the flooding. They are now being housed at 594 temporary camps across Sri Lanka.
Landslide in Aranayake
K. D. Piyasena lived in the village of Sirpura situated in Aranayake district secretariat, approximately 140kms away from the capital Colombo in the hills of Kegalle district.
Piiyasena lived in a modest house with his wife and three sons. He earned a small income from selling lottery tickets. Every day, his elder son who worked in a bank would buy 100 tickets for Piyasena to sell in the town.
“I got a call from my son on Tuesday evening asking me to come home. It wasn’t anything urgent, he just told me it was raining and I should come home,” said Piyasena.
“When I got home, there was a massive pile of dirt. I was confused. I didn’t know where I was. I honestly thought that I had taken a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in this pile of dirt”.
It took several minutes for Piyasena to understand what had happened amidst the eerie silence surrounding him. His home and family had completely disappeared beneath a massive landslide.
At approximately 4.00 pm on Tuesday evening an entire side of the Siripura mountain collapsed into the valley below after receiving torrential rains for two consecutive days. The landslide buried three villages including Piyasenas.
“My entire life, my boys and my wife – they have left without me. I am heartbroken”, said Piyasena from a temporary camp where he is now being cared for by the Red Cross.
According to Government statistics, prior to the incident there were 220 families living in Siripura and the neighbouring villages of Pallebage and Elagipitiya. So far, search and rescue teams have retrieved only 19 bodies. Dozens remain missing.
Helping the survivors
As soon as the landslide occurred, Sri Lanka Red Cross Society’s Kegalle Branch deployed its Disaster Response Team to Aranayake.
Upon arriving they coordinated with the Government Authorities in search and rescue efforts and also in setting up temporary camps where they have been providing first aid, food and psychological support to the survivors of the landslide who made it to safety. Another team was also sent from Colombo to help.
Now, Red Cross staff and volunteers are helping to manage nine temporary and are carrying out assessments in areas where people in the camps fled from.
Stranded by floodwaters
Red Cross volunteers and staff have also been responding to flash floods in others parts of Sri Lanka. In the capital, the Colombo branch has been providing cooked food and blankets, water bottles and other non-food relief items to over 800 families.
First aid camps were also carried out by the branch in Weheragodalla Temple in Kolonnawa
Also steps were taken to distribute non food relief items to people living in Kaduwela.
In Gampaha, which is one of the worst affected districts, Red Cross volunteers provided evacuation and first aid support to people stranded in Biyagama due to heavy flooding. Boats from the branch escorted people to safety where they were taken care of by volunteers.
In Kilinochchi the SLRCS Kilinochchi Branch distributed NFRI to two welfare centers with the coordination District Disaster Management Unite and Divisional Secretary.
In Kurunegala, steps were also taken to distribute non food relief items to floods affected.
According to the meteorological department of Sri Lanka more rains have been forecast in the next few weeks despite the current low pressure moving away from the island.
18/05/2016 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Red Cross rescue team volunteers are continuously working along side Government Forces and other services in order to search for over 200 families missing in Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitiya villages in Aranayake, Kegalle after a massive landslide occurred last night.
According to Government figures there has been 220 families in the three villages living. The task is to figure out what happened to them and as to where they are. Earlier warnings were issued of possible landslides in the area and officials are hoping that most took heed of the warning and moved towards a safer location.
Here are some of the pictures from the devastated areas.
Four temporary camps have been set up by the Government. One camp is being managed by the Red Cross located at the Viyaneliya Temple. Here 384 persons are taking shelter. Assessments are underway by the Red Cross to determine as to where they are from in order to figure out whether they are survivors from the landslide.
The Red Cross is providing cooked food, dry rations, milk power, blankets, clothes, non food relief items as well as first aid and sanitary services.
18/05/2016 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Red Cross Society’s rescue teams joined Government Authorities in the wee hours of Wednesday in search for over 200 families missing since a massive landslide came down on the Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitya villages in Aranayake located in the Kegalle District.
Electricity was cut off completely last night making it difficult for rescue teams to reach the locations, but in the initial hours managed to rescue over 180 persons. They have been housed at the Viyaneliya Temple. We are managing the camp and has provided them with first aid, cooked food, dry rations, blankets and other relief items.
Two rescue teams have been deployed in search for the missing by the Red Cross in order to join main rescue teams. Authorities managing the rescue efforts believe that a larger number of people would have been victims of this landslide.
Here are some of the pictures received by our rescue teams on their way to the villages. As of now 13 bodies have been recovered from the site of the landslide.