01/06/2016 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society has now ended the emergency phase of its operations for floods and landslides in the recent days, that affected closer to half a million people in Sri Lanka.
From May 14, heavy downpours caused by a tropical depression in the Bay of Bengal have caused extensive flash-floods which, at their peak, affected over 420,000 people across 22 of the country’s 25 districts. As of now, 105 people are known to have died and many remain missing, most as a result of two deadly landslides in Aranayake, in the hills of Kegalle district.
During the emergency phase the Red Cross managed to reach over 200,000 people directly and indirectly through first aid, providing of food and dry rations, emergency evacuation, search and rescue, distribution of non food relief items, psychological support and through providing support for people housed at temporary camps.
From 1st June 2016, the operation will move on towards focusing on longer term recovery and reconstruction needs of the people affected by floods & landslides.
In the first phase the SLRCS with support from the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) aims to reach 40,000 people with aid over the next 18 months. The support will consist of providing relief items, cash transfers that will help households recover or diversify their livelihoods by establishing agriculture and livestock projects or small and medium-scale business ventures. Cash transfers coupled with guidance on safer shelter construction will also be channelled to families to make repairs to their homes.
In Aranayake and Bulathkohupitiya the Red Cross is currently in discussion with Government Authorities in order to provide housing for the people who survived the landslide. A safer location needs to be demarcated by the Government and should be agreed by the people prior to the reconstruction efforts can take place. Earlier on the President of Sri Lanka Red Cross Jagath Abeysinghe held discussion with officials of Hayleys in Bulathkohupitiya in order to identify a location to erect temporary shelters until permanent shelters can be given.
Meanwhile SLRCS would like to thank the Three Armed Forces, The Police, The Civil Security Force, Media Organization and Journalists, Civil Organizations, The Corporate Sector, Non – Governmental Organizations, Sri Lankan Diaspora and more so the public of Sri Lanka for answering our call to assist the people affected by floods and landslides. The generosity demonstrated by all has helped us to assist the most vulnerable in this disaster.
As we now move away from the emergency phase we appeal to all to continue to be with the people affected by floods and landslides as they strive to return to normality and to live a dignified life.
Since the onset of the disaster many organizations along with partner national societies came to the aid of SLRCS and more so to aid the people of Sri Lanka who were in distress .
The below organizations have joined with Sri Lanka Red Cross in order to ensure that aid and support to the people affected by floods and landslides are taken care of from the emergency phase to the longer term recovery needs.
Turkish Red Crescent
The Turkish Red Crescent immediately sent relief supplies within 48hours of the disaster. A delegate along with supplies of tents, blankets and solar powered lights were dispatched to Colombo. Steps where also taken by the Turkish Red Crescent to provide more aid. Today non food relief items were distributed in the Bulathkohupitiya area where the second landslide took place.
Emirates Red Crescent
Delegates from Emirates Red Crescent too responded to provide aid and support to Sri Lanka Red Cross Society. Non food relief items were distributed with their support in Colombo and Gampaha districts. ERC also hopes to provide more support in the long run with the transformation towards long term recovery.
Red Cross Society of China
During the first few days the Red Cross Society of China provided 50,000 USD for emergency relief and recovery work of SLRCS. It was provided via the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka to SLRCS. Meanwhile a delegation from the Red Cross Society of China also arrived in the island and held discussion with the Director General of Sri Lanka Red Cross on how better coordinate the relief efforts. They also donated via the SLRCS to the Government of Sri Lanka 1000 tents and 3000 field beds as per the request made by the SLRCS before.
Singapore Red Cross
Two relief aid delegates were sent to Sri Lanka by the Singapore Red Cross. They engaged in relief aid distribution in Gampaha and Colombo districts. The Singapore Red Cross Society also provided 50,000 USD for relief and emergency work of SLRCS.
John Keells Holdings
John Keells Holdings also joined hands with Sri Lanka Red Cross in order to clean wells in the Colombo and Gampaha districts. Approximately around 1000 wells will be cleaned with their support. SLRCS volunteers and personnel from JKH will engage in these activities.
Colombo Chamber of Commerce
Meanwhile the Colombo Chamber of Commerce too partnered with Sri Lanka Red Cross to provide relief aid to people affected by floods and landslide in Sri Lanka. Through their business initiative they donated many items to the donation drive of SLRCS and provided ample amount of supplies from school books to kitchen utensils which was distributed among the masses.
Oxfam Sri Lanka too joined hands with Sri Lanka Red Cross in order to strengthen the humanitarian efforts in the wake of this natural disaster. Accordingly Oxfam Sri Lanka will provide funding support to distribute non food relief items, host medical camps and provide camp management in Kegalle. The MoU with Oxfam Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Red Cross was signed recently by the Director General of Sri Lanka Red Cross and the Country Director of Oxfam Sri Lanka.