25/12/2014 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: Heavy flooding in Sri Lanka since 19 December 2014, in 18 districts has affected an estimated 675,000 people according to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC). Six people have been reported dead due to floods & landslides. Currently, 80,736 people are living in 344 safety centers (evacuation centres). Its is reported that 3,175 houses are fully destroyed and 11,366 houses partially damaged due to floods.
Out of the total 72 major made tanks (reservoirs) in Sri Lanka, 53 are already over-spilling expanding the flood damage to agricultural lands. Extremely heavy rainfall was observed during 16th -21st December in Eastern and North Central regions.
Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa districts received highest rainfall during this week exceeding 200mm on the 19th. Rainfall reduced slightly on the 20th but still coastal areas of Batticaloa received rainfall up to 140 mm and increasing again on the 21st with a high rainfall of 180 mm in Wilpattu in North Central Province.
Government of Sri Lanka is providing cooked meals and dry rations to the affected people. National Disaster Relief Services Centre had requested from the humanitarian agencies to support with non-food-items (NFIs) as these items are not available for purchasing within the flood-affected districts. Hospitals and government offices were inundated with water and some inmates of a prison had to be transferred to other facilities.
Sri Lanka army has deployed disaster relief teams in the North, north central and the Eastern Provinces while the Navy is continuing its flood relief operations covering the Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Ampara and Manner districts affected by the inclement weather. Navy personnel rescued 246 civilians during their flood relief operations. The Navy said it is monitoring the situation and additional relief teams are standby for contingency deployments.
Sri Lanka Red Cross Action
Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) has immediately mobilized their volunteers on 20th December 2014 in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts to support affected population and subsequently in Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Matale , Puttalam and Mannar districts, Currently over 75 volunteers are operative in the field and continuously supporting displaced population over 40,000.
Based on the information received from the volunteers and staff in the field, over 7,500 people received first aid, food items, drinking water and Non-food items such as sleeping mats, bed sheets, sarongs, kaftans, jerry cans, rubber slippers and soap. Further tarpaulin sheets were provided for evacuation centers and houses which are partially damaged.
The Department of Meteorology reports that the prevailing showery weather in the northern and eastern parts will decrease in the next few days but more rains will be received to central hills and south region. Heavy showers more than 150mm are also likely at some places. The National Building Research Organization has issued a warning for landslides if rain continues for the next 24hrs in Matale, Kandy, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya and Rathnapura districts.
With the overflow of most tanks(manmade reservoirs) in the north central province and the rivers overflowing their banks more than 10,000 hectares of paddy(rice) cultivated areas are submerged by flood waters giving huge impact on livelihoods of the communities living in these areas who were vastly impacted by the prolonged dry conditions few months ago. Vegetable production also being decreased due to adverse weather conditions over last one month and prices have highly increased making extreme hardships to most vulnerable in the country.
While continuing the immediate response interventions by all stakeholders there are medium term and long term recovery needs are existing in affected areas. Housing, livelihood and small scale infrastructure rehabilitation are major areas to be concerned by humanitarian actors.