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Sri Lanka emergency: Death toll mounts following severe floods

Sri Lanka

Torrential downpours and flash floods in southwest Sri Lanka over the weekend claimed at least 169 lives. More than half a million people are affected, and 75,000 people have been forced to leave their homes. Handicap International’s emergency response experts and the local team in Sri Lanka are evaluating ways to help.

Flooding Batticaloa

Photo shows flooding in Batticaloa, which took place in 2010. Batticaloa is one of the areas worst affected by the current flooding crisis. | © ChildFund

Severe floods and mudslides across have also left families searching for more than 110 people. The death toll is likely to rise, and hundreds of thousands of people need emergency assistance.

Handicap International has worked in Sri Lanka since 2003. Teams responded with financial and housing assistance when floods hit in November 2015 and following Cyclone Roanu in May 2016.

Anne-Lyse Coutin, Handicap International’s Project Officer for Sri Lanka explains “The 2015 and 2016 disasters caused the displacement of approximately 350,000 people. We helped as many as possible to pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives. Some of the same areas have been badly hit again and it looks as though the impact may be even worse. It’s devastating for everyone involved.”

In addition to people’s immediate needs for survival, Handicap International is particularly concerned about the medium-term recovery in these communities. “The floods come after a serious drought and widespread crop failure. People are now facing 3 consecutive failed seasons, impacting their food security, livelihood and overall resilience.” adds Coutin.

Our emergency response experts and the team in Sri Lanka will determine how best to respond to the people who are most in need.

Date published: 06/02/17


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