Sri Lanka flood water could take few days to recede: UN OCHA

May 23, 2016 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's worst floods in 25 years may take few days to recede, with the increasing possibility of health issues in urban areas, UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its situation report released on Sunday.

"It is expected to take several days for floodwaters to recede and in some areas water levels remain as high as the roofs of people’s houses with access only possible by boat or by air," the report said. "Many of the affected population, particularly in the rural areas, were already amongst the most vulnerable in the country and have now lost everything, including their homes, possessions, agricultural land and means of making a living." In the urban areas there are growing health concerns related to the quantity of so much standing water in highly populated areas and the destruction of much of the water and sanitation infrastructure, which could lead to serious public health issues, the report added. "Priority needs are for WASH, health, shelter and food assistance, and current requests include the provision of emergency items including clothing, water purification tablets, temporary latrines, hygiene and cooking equipment, and boats. UN agencies and NGOs are providing items from existing stocks." Most of the 376 safe locations in all the 22 affected districts are schools where classrooms, WASH facilities and other buildings have been used by the displaced people. Before returning back to education, these schools and other affected schools need to be cleaned and repaired.

Information on how many of the health/medical centers have been adversely affected is not available, although early indications are that no Ministry of Health institutions are reported as damaged and hospitals continue to remain operational, providing the necessary care, the report added The full report can be viewed below OCHA-ROAP-Sitrep-1-Flood-and-landslides
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