The Editors of Groundviews have received several updates during the course of the day confirming that the situation on the ground is quite severe and we now have a humanitarian crisis in those flood-affected regions with over 950,000 individuals affected from over 250,000 families. The Disaster Management Centre has confirmed as of 1:00PM today that 18 people have been killed and 47 have been injured as a result of the floods.
Ada Dernana notes the following in a news story published today,
Director General of the DMC, Major General Gamini Hettiarachchi speaking at the media conference said that 11,338 homes had been partially damaged while 1,609 homes had been fully damaged. He added that around 200 tanks had also been damaged in the floods.
Meanwhile, P.B. Samarasinghe, Director General of the Meteorological Department said that rains are expected for the next three days while this was the heaviest rains that the country had witnessed in over thirty years. (Emphasis ours.)
R.M.S. Bandara of the National Building Research Organization (NBRO) said that landslide warnings had been issued in 10 Districts including Matale, Badulla and Kandy where besides the heavy rains, poorly planned constructions on sloped areas had also contributed greatly to the reported landslides.
According to sources on the ground, the SL Army, Air Force and Navy are working hard to deliver food items to flood victims. The World Vision office in Batticaloa and the Red Cross are assisting as well in the relief effort. There is an urgent need for assistance to those victims who are sheltered in schools. With reports that weather conditions could actually worsen over the next few days, it is of utmost necessity that as much relief is delivered as soon as possible to those affected.
At present, there are 295 families at shelters in Chetipalayam and another 156 families Theththatheevu. There are a further four shelter camps in Kaluthwalai with 200 families in Kaluthawalai Mahavidyala, 114 families in Ramakrishna Vidyala, 112 families in Vipulananda and 48 families in Pugalidam.
The relief items required include milk powder for children, sanitary napkins, other basic food items and clothes.
The office of Chief Minister Chandrakanthan released an official SOS call for immediate assistance. The letter highlights the ground situation in the Eastern Province,
600,000 (Batticaloa 232,571, Ampara 317,270, Trincomalee 57,020) people have already left their homes and are residing in safer places. Most of the houses have been submerged and people have lost their belongs (sic.) More than 5000 people have lost their housing utensils and clothes. Considering the plight of the flood victims, please give a helping hand by providing donations and assistance in whatever way.
A Daily Mirror update today noted that other areas are at risk of flooding due to heavy rainfall,
The Ariyamancheni-Neelapola area is facing the threat of floods as several leaks have been detected in the bunts along the Mahaweli River in the Ariyamancheni area. Troops, police and irrigation officers are also engaged in packing sand bags to minimize the damage.
A total of 125 families in Ariyamancheni have been moved to the Lingapuram Tamil College while 121 families in the Sirimangala area have also been moved to the Somadevi Vidyalaya.
Several leaks have also been detected in the stream from Mavilaru to Kalaru and the army is packing sand bags at the moment, the Serunuwara Divisional Secretary Chandana Piyadasa said.
An Ada Derana news update confirmed that President Rajapaksa had to postpone his flood assessment visit and was grounded due to bad weather. A BBC news update notes the following,
Those displaced by the floods have squeezed into 800 camps that have sprung up in school premises, many of which are surrounded by water.
The air force has helped evacuate people and drop food supplies to some cut-off communities.
The government has made an emergency appeal for ordinary people’s help in sending dry rations, mattresses and bottled water.
Clean water and food supplies have been sent by official and international agencies to the worst-hit areas.
But the deputy disaster management minister Duleep Wijesekara said some places, such as Mutur, have been difficult to reach.
Around 200,000 people have been displaced.
HOW TO HELP
The Editors of Groundviews appeal to all our readers to assist in any way possible and to spread the word. The following is a list of organisations and numbers that you can contact to assist the flood victims. This list will be updated as soon as we receive word of other agencies and collection centres.
STITCH – Youth Movement
Dehiwala – Call Prabu on 0774 377477 for details
Moratuwa – Call Prathibha on 0779 851851 for details
Colpetty – call Sabrina on 0777 751718 for details
Wellawatte – Call Divya on 0714 289869 for details
If you would like to volunteer for STITCH, please email them at [email protected]
Please contact Mr. Saman Algoda, the Executive Director (0774394577, [email protected]) or Mr. Chamindha Rajakaruna, Director-Programmes (0777710205,[email protected]), or call the general lines on 2655255 or 2647159.
Federation of Youth Club (COLLECTION CENTRE)
86, High Level Road
Update 8:57PM: “24 hour relief operation is in place by deploying tri-forces to ensure continuous supply of basic needs for the flood affected – Info Dept- JNW.”
This page will be updated as soon as we get more information.
Update 9:37PM: SMS’s from Chanuka Wattegama in Batticaloa we received throughout the day today, reproduced here verbatim.
- “rain continues, Flood levels increased. Relief distribution poor n disorganised. Mess. 4tos @ sarvodaya.org”
- “situation is worse. Raind since morn. Relief can’t reach ppl. Supply routes blocked.”
- “Heavy rains @ batty. Water level rapidly increase. Eravur town may be under water in few hrs at this level cutting off Batti from mainland. Expect worse”
Update 12:50PM, 13th of January 2011: “21 deaths reported, over 1 million people affected due to bad weather.” Daily Mirror SMS update.