Flash floods affect over 100,000 in Western Sri Lanka

Publié: 4 juin 2014 16:39 CET

By Mahieash Johnney, IFRC  

Twenty three people have died following heavy rains and extensive floods in western districts of Sri Lanka. Kalutara, Colombo and Gampaha were worst hit. Nine people died in Kalutara and Colombo due to landslides and many were left stranded in Agalawatta.

An estimated 107,000 people have been affected by the rains. In response, branches of The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society in affected districts deployed disaster response teams to carry out assessments, assist the emergency services and rescue teams who have been evacuating people to safety, and provided relief assistance.

Over 17,000 people were displaced due to the heavy rains in Kalutara, and extensive damage to roads and bridges has hampered relief efforts.  

The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society has released emergency funds to support response activities, water purification tablets have been distributed, and well cleaning and debris clearance in flood affected areas is also underway by Red Cross volunteers as most of the clean water sources have been contaminated by flood waters.

As of now, non-food relief items consisting of hygiene items, kitchen sets, clothes, lanterns, jerry cans, and mosquito nets have been distributed in Kalutara. First aid services were also provided to people with minor injuries.

Meanwhile, water levels of several major rivers (Gin, Kalu, Walawe) have reached danger levels and Red Cross volunteers have been deployed to alert families living in low lying areas of these river basins. They are also able to assist in their evacuation if necessary.

Director General of The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society Tissa Abeywickrama said: “Our volunteers have played a vital role in the emergency response. Because they are from affected communities, they are the first on the scene when a disaster like this happens and they rally together to help each other.”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and other Red Cross organizations are standing by to assist if the situation worsens.

Update (05/06/2014): updated figures for affected population