25/05/2016 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: The relief efforts of Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) continues in the aftermath of flash floods and landslides experienced in the recent days. As of now over 200 volunteers from Gampaha, Colombo, Kegalle, Puttalam & Rathnapura have been assisting in proving food relief items (such as rice, dhal, sugar, milk powder, baby formula) and non food relief items (such as clothes, hygiene kits and sanitary napkins) and other services (first aid, search and rescue, medical camps) during the past week. The Red Cross has managed to reach over 140,000 affected people with our services since the flood & landslide relief and rescue operations began.
President of Sri Lanka Red Cross Jagath Abeysinghe recently visited to overlook a relief distribution in Biyagama, Gampaha where over 550 families received aid. These aid was collected in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Red Cross Matara Branch.
In Aranayake, SLRCS continues to work with authorities to provide welfare for the people who survived the massive landslide. As of now 47 bodies have been recovered from two landslide locations and over 180 are still missing. Currently over 4,200 people who were displaced are being housed in 23 welfare camps. SLRCS is providing first aid, camp management, non food relief items and psychological support.
Meanwhile aid from various countries continues to pour in. The Red Cross Society of China donated 50,000 USD to SLRCS through the Chinese Embassy in Colombo. The Singapore Red Cross also provided 150,000 USD to SLRCS for flood recovery efforts. The Turkish Red Crescent sent in relief supplies to SLRCS. A consignment of tents, blankets and solar powered lights were provided to the Red Cross, after which SLRCS donated it to the Ministry of Disaster Management. Emirates Red Crescent is providing support by sending in several delegates to Sri Lanka in order to assist the flood relief operations.
The International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) too launched an appeal to raise over 3 million CHF for longer term recovery needs of the people affected by floods and landslides.
Meanwhile the SLRCS strongly urges the public who are returning home after being stranded in floods and landslides to be cautious of health issues. Soon after floods there is a possibility of an increase in vector borne diseases such as dengue, diarrhea (due to the consumption of unclean water) and fever. The Red Cross requests anyone if they are experiencing any symptoms such as sudden high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, severe joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting or severe abdominal or rectal pain to immediately seek medical support and to go see a health professional.
SLRCS currently assessing the needs of the people for longer term recovery support. Volunteers in the five worst affected districts (Colombo, Gampaha, Kegalle, Rathnapura & Puttalam) are visiting welfare camps and houses to speak with people to understand their immediate and longer term needs. This will assist the Red Cross in determining the best way of support.