By Achini Kavindi (Acting Focal Point for First-Aid/Communications Officer of SLRCS) and Kate Marshall (Surge Communications of IFRC)
KOLONNAWA, WESTERN PROVINCE, SRI LANKA – “My sister gets 2,900 rupees through the Samurdhi Fund and the Elderly Allowance. That’s all we have to live for a month”…. said an old woman from Kolonnawa living in a small house with no electricity, suffering from a heart disease.
The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) paid a visit to Halmulla in the Kolonnawa area of Sri Lanka in October 2022 to assess the current situation in the area as a result of the heavy rains.
It is no secret that the people of Sri Lanka are in danger as a result of the current economic crisis and inclement weather. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some low-income people living a simple lifestyle could afford to eat at least twice a day, but now they can only eat once.
The people of Colombo, Gampaha, Meerigama, Ja-Ela, Wattala, Kelaniya, Kolonnawa, Thimbirigasaya, and Kaduwela in Sri Lanka’s Western Province have been affected by flash floods in recent days, and they are usually affected two or three times a year. According to quantitative data from the Ministry of Defense’s Disaster Management Division, floods have affected 1,056 families and 4,317 individuals this year, negatively impacting people’s lifestyles.
People in Kolonnawa and Ja-Ela, in particular, are suffering as a result of the country’s ongoing problems. The majority of people in that area who support their families are daily wage earners, and many of those families are in debt because they borrowed to buy necessities for daily consumption. In this situation, pregnant women, patients, and young children are the most vulnerable parties. Some pregnant women develop chronic diseases as a result of a lack of adequate food, nutrition, and essential medicines.
Since there is a lack of proper sanitation in displaced areas, these communities are more vulnerable to water-borne diseases, particularly dengue and diarrhoea. The SLRCS, in collaboration with the IFRC, is supporting the provision of shelter, livelihood, health, water, sanitation, and protection services to the affected population through the emergency appeal operational strategies in place.
Despite their lack of wealth and power, their greatest strength is unity and as representatives of the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society believes in the power of human kindness and people’s unity at all times.
It’s about serving people!