Caritas is giving out emergency food and water to people hit by floods and landslides following torrential monsoon rains in Sri Lanka. It will help 27,000 people in the coming months.
Over 200,000 people in the west, northern west and central parts of the country have been affected so far. Thirty-seven people have lost their lives. Media reports say rescuers are looking for more than 200 families missing following a massive landslide in remote Aranayake.
Fr George Sigamoney, director of Caritas Sri Lanka, said, “The Church stands by in solidarity with all those affected at a time which is very difficult for many in Sri Lanka. We will do everything possible to alleviate the suffering of the innocent people whose lives have suddenly been upturned by this disaster.”
Caritas says that beyond food and water, clothes and temporary shelter are among the things most needed right night by those in monsoon-affected areas. In some areas Caritas is giving out warm meals to survivors.
Caritas is also working with the local authority disaster management centre to inform communities of further weather developments and about the response to the disaster.
Fr Sigamoney says that that urgent requests for relief assistance had been received from the dioceses of Colombo, Ratnapura, Chilaw, Kurunegala and Kandy. The diocesan centre of Ratnapura will also assist those severely affected by the landslides which have occurred in Aranayake and Bulathkohupitiya.
As well as damaging homes, the monsoons have also affected people’s livelihoods – especially those of people working in agriculture. Children living in affected areas are unable to attend school as clothing and school books have been damaged in the floods.
More heavy rains are expected over the next few days and there have been warnings of possible landslides. Several water reservoirs and irrigation tanks are reported to be fast approaching spill levels.
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