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Floods in Sri Lanka

In May of this year Cyclone Roanu hit Sri Lanka and travelled up the east coast of India to hit southern Bangladesh. There were other things happening that took the headlines, and so this didn't get much attention.

Worst hit was Sri Lanka, where there was severe flooding from the storm. The Guardian reported on 21 May:

Landslides and heavy flooding have killed at least 73 people in Sri Lanka, with scores more missing and hundreds of thousands forced to flee their homes.

Torrential rains have deluged the island nation since last weekend, triggering huge landslides that have buried victims in up to 15 metres (50 feet) of mud.

In the capital, Colombo, thousands of homes remained inundated, though there were signs that the waters were receding, according to AP. About 243,000 people remained in temporary shelters nationwide.

As the heaviest rains in a quarter of a century battered Sri Lanka, cyclone Roanu barrelled into the Bangladesh coastline leaving six people dead and forcing the evacuation of 500,000 as it unleashed winds as strong as 54mph and heavy downpours.

Soldiers looked for bodies in thick mud deposits in the central district of Kegalle, where landslides swallowed up three villages on Tuesday.

Major Gen Sudantha Ranasinghe, who is coordinating the search, said one body and parts of another were found on Saturday. From the landslides in the three villages, 21 people have been confirmed dead and 123 others are missing. Ranasinghe said another part of the same mountain crashed down Saturday, but there were no casualties because residents had been evacuated after the first landslides.

As civilians volunteered to provide food and clothing to the affected people, foreign assistance was arriving after an appeal by Sri Lanka’s foreign minister. India and Japan sent relief items including medicine, tents, tarpaulin sheets, generators and water purifiers. Japan will also send disaster management experts to help expedite relief efforts and look at ways to reduce landslide risks, the Japanese embassy in Colombo said. The US has announced a three-year project to help Sri Lanka maintain supplies of safe drinking water even during times of drought and flooding.

In Banzaid we have since had a request for help from Asia Pacific Baptist Aid (APBAid), who have been in contact with Baptist churches in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Baptists report:

The recent heavy rains and cyclonic situation in the country caused earthslips and floods in most parts of the country. Nearly 200 people have died or have gone missing as a result.  Around 500,000 have lost their homes or their houses have gone under water.  Some of them are housed in our Churches and others are in public buildings such as Schools and Temples.

Many people have been affected in areas where we have churches.  Our Churches are doing their utmost to help the affected people in those areas by way of providing dry rations, water bottles, sanitary items etc.  However our resources are limited.

Now after about a week, since the flood waters are receding the next phase is to provide the immediate needs of the returnees such as providing dry rations, School books and kitchen utensils.

 Banzaid does not have programmes in Sri Lanka. However we are able to forward donations through organisations that are working in this situation. Contact us for more information about how to donate, or use the Donate page and put "Sri Lanka Floods" in the comments box.

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