(PRESS RELEASE) – A formal request for support by the Government of Sri Lanka was received by the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office on 26 May 2017 following the onset of the monsoon and its impact in the Southern and Western regions of the country.
An estimated 230,000 people in Sri Lanka are currently affected by adverse weather conditions that have caused flooding and landslides in 14 out of 25 districts; Batticaloa, Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Matale, Matara, Mulaitivu, Ratnapura, Trincomalee and Vavuniya. To date, almost 100 people have been killed and more than 90 people remain missing, while an estimated 20,000 people have been displaced and are being sheltered in 119 safe locations across affected districts.
The most severely impacted district is Galle, where 128,047 people (32,215 families) have reportedly been affected. Fatalities have been reported in Gampaha, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kegalle, Matara and Ratnapura districts, with 46 deaths reported in Ratnapura alone. Tri-Forces and Police have been mobilized for Search and Rescue and evacuations operations in Galle, Hambantota, Kalutara and Matara districts. The UN stresses the importance of following evacuation orders to minimize loss of human life.
The UN received an initial request from the Government on 26 May 2017 related to search and rescue efforts. UN agencies are currently supporting the Government’s relief efforts in coordination and mobilizing resources.
UNICEF will donate water containers, water purification tablets and tarpaulin sheets to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC). WHO will be supporting the Ministry of Health to deploy medical teams to the affected districts. WFP and UNDP are supporting the DMC with information management. UN OCHA will provide additional human resources for coordination with Government and Humanitarian Partners. Search and Rescue efforts are on standby from neighbouring countries and can be deployed if needed.
Heavy rain and strong winds is forecast to continue into the first week of June, raising the risk that current conditions may worsen with land access to many affected areas restricted due to water inundation and landslides.