IOM to Assist in Wake of Deadly Sri Lanka Floods and Landslides

Posted: 
05/27/16
Themes: 
Humanitarian Emergencies, Migration and Climate Change, Migration and Environment

Sri Lanka - Torrential rains in Sri Lanka have resulted in severe flooding and landslides that have left dozens of people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. Data from the national Disaster Management Centre shows that 340,150 people are affected across the island, with 237,240 people still in evacuation centers.

IOM has completed preliminary assessments in the worst-hit areas of Kegalle and Rathnapura districts (both located about 80 kilometres from Colombo where more than 35,000 people have been affected), as well as in the urban areas of Colombo and Gampaha.

People are returning to their homes as water levels recede in flooded areas. However, in landslide-affected regions such as Kegalle, they are currently staying in evacuation centers and are unlikely to return home in the short term.

The government has issued landslide risk alerts and is considering options for mid to long-term shelter arrangements. Some homes have been completely destroyed and permanent alternative housing needs to be identified.

As part of rapid response funding under consideration from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), IOM will provide emergency shelter and household items to 2,783 families in the worst-affected areas.

IOM is appealing for a further USD 2 million to address transitional shelter, health, water, sanitation, and hygiene needs.

Evacuation centers have been set up in local schools and religious buildings, although these were not designed to accommodate people in emergency situations. They are heavily congested and sanitation and hygiene are quickly becoming an issue, especially for women.

“We are assessing the situation on the ground with a view to setting up systems in the evacuation centers,” said Giuseppe Crocetti, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Colombo. “We are also going to be assisting with center management, as it is essential to maintain the security and privacy of families in this time of distress.”

Find the Sri Lanka Floods and Landslides Situation Report, 26 May 2016 here.

For further information please contact Giuseppe Crocetti at IOM Sri Lanka. Email: gcrocetti@iom.int, Tel: +94 115 325 300

IOM staff interview flood displaced families at an evacuation center in a local school. Photo: IOM / Upali Jayasuriya  2016