Sri Lanka flood levels begin to reduce, more rain expected

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Jun 01, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s national disaster management officials have reported that water levels are beginning to recede along the major river basins, the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator said in a flood situation update.

However, access to remote villages remains a significant challenge.

With forecast of more rains in the coming days, landslide risk advisories remain in effect in Rathnapura, Kegalle, Galle, Kalutara, Matara, Hambantota and Nuwara Eliya districts according to the National Building Research Organization.

With less rainfall over the past 24 hours, local authorities with the support from the Sri Lanka Armed Forces and civil society are making progress in clearing roads, facilitating additional relief distributions, the statement said.

Aerial surveys conducted by the Disaster Management Centre confirmed earlier impact satellite imagery
from the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters. Galle, Kalutara, Matara and Rathnapura are
the worst-affected districts.

An analysis of the floods and landslides in 2017 also indicate that the affected areas are the same districts that were severely hit with a similar disaster in 2016. As of 6.00 pm 31st May, the latest official report estimates 630,000 people have been affected across 15 districts.

The death toll has risen to 203 deaths and 96 people are still missing. The floods and landslides have destroyed 1,500 houses, partially damaged 7,600 houses and temporarily displaced 73,560 people in 354 safe locations. The Department of Government Information announced that each house destroyed or damaged will be compensated with a maximum of 2.5 million rupees (US$16,360) by the Government.

A Pakistan naval ship arrived in Sri Lanka with dry rations, medicines, de-flooding pumps and other relief
items. The ship also has the capability to provide search and rescue assets including helicopter, rescue
boats, medical teams and expert divers. The Republic of Korea also announced a donation of $300,000
in relief goods including family tents, blankets and tarpaulins.

On 30th May, the Spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General through a statement expressed deep concern on the impact of the disaster on the people of Sri Lanka and reiterated the UN’s readiness to scale up support to the Government-led response.

The Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator also held talks
with the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission on the ongoing international support in-country. Sri Lanka
expressed thanks to UN agencies and Member States for the assistance received so far and noted that
further requirements, if needed, will be communicated in the coming days.

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) has deployed three rapid assessment teams to Ratnapura, Galle, Matara
and Kalutara. Result of the assessments are expected to further refine the country team’s targeted
support. The Emergency Communications Group was also activated on 31 May to ensure coordinated
inter-agency messaging on the response, the statement added.

In the most-affected districts of Galle, Kalutara, Matara and Rathnapura, a total of 14 Humanitarian
Country Team partner agencies have been implementing food security, health, emergency shelter and
NFIs and child protection activities.

For more information contact Alex Suwitra, Emergency Response Coordination Assistant, asuwitra at gmail.com with the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator.