28/12/2012 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: Despite the inclement weather being stable for couple of days, the number of people affected by the rain and flood waters continues to grow in all parts of Sri Lanka. As of 28th December 2012 the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) says 359,619 people in 21 districts are victims of the inclement weather. The death toll stands at 39, while 7 people are yet missing.
31861 people have been relocated to 184 evacuation centres created within these districts to house the affected.
The rainfall statistics published by the Meteorological Department in last 24 hours shows Mannar district soaking in the most amount of rain which stands at 130 ml, while 96 ml in Jaffna, Anuradhapura 50 ml and Batticaloa 63 ml of rainfall causing more damage and difficulties to ongoing relief efforts in northern districts.
According to the latest assessment, the flooding and landslide had fully damaged 4,172 houses; another 10,457 houses are reported partially damaged more than 93,435 families have been affected since heavy rain started on 17th December 2012.
With many reservoirs reaching spill level due to heavy rainfall, authorities have warned people in the Polonnaruwa, Batticoloa, Trincomalee, Vavuniya and Mannar Districts to be extremely vigilant as the flood situation is expected to worsen within the next few hours. “Some 48 sluice gates of 71 reservoirs have been opened as the tanks have reached 95% capacity,” Director of Water Resource Management, Department of Irrigation, Janaki Meegasweva said.
Due to torrential rains in the Anuradhapura District, 26 small reservoirs, including several central reservoirs, have been completely destroyed. Some 86 tanks are at the risk of being destroyed.
Director, Landslide Research and Risk Management Division, NBRO, R.M.S. Bandara said, according to reports there seems a decrease in the rainfall in the Matale District, but warned areas where landslides have already occurred. “We are always monitoring landslides and always trying to rescue people, when such incidents occur,” he said.
According to the information released by the Department of Meteorology, the Northern, North Central, Eastern, and Central provinces are still experiencing heavy rains. Certain areas are likely to receive heavy showers (above 75 millimeters) and some areas are likely to experience rains and thundershowers. Strong winds are predicted progressing from the East across the island intermittently.
RED CROSS ACTION
Whilst Mannar, Vavuniya, Killinochchi, Mullative, Trincomalee and Anuradhapura branches are struggling to support relief efforts with continuous rainfall Kurunegala, Polonnaruwa, Puttalam, Hambabtota and Matale are supporting to communities for early recovery interventions as people are slowly returning to their homes now.
At the request of the branches, SLRCS NHQ is mobilizing additional relief stocks to support immediate flood relief action to Mannar, Killinochchi, Mullative and Vavuniya affected by heavy rains last two days. Initial phase of relief activities SLRCS has managed to respond to the existing relief needs mobilizing its contingency stocks and procuring additional items with the support of in-country based Movement partners.
But with additional request from government officials for more relief interventions to northern districts, SLRCS requested more support from its partners; ICRC has provided emergency house hold items (Bed sheets, sarongs, mugs, plates, towels, t-shirts, soaps and some cloths) and Hong Kong Red Cross through IFRC supported for emergency relief items procurement. So far SLRCS dispatched relief stocks to 12 districts and supported more than 6,000 families directly and 30,000 families indirectly.
According to the SLRCS branches, cleaning of wells contaminated by flood, hospitals and community centers remain the priority. Needs identified by SLRCS: at least 2,100 wells in 7 districts.
Districts branches of Puttalam, Kurunegala, Hambantota and Polonnaruwa have mobilized volunteers and communities and have managed to complete cleaning of some hospital areas and wells. SLRCS continues to monitor the situation and will share the updates as the situation evolves.