Colombo, May 31 (newsin.asia): At least 16 hospitals were evacuated fully or partially in Sri Lanka as these facilities were directly affected by the floods or exposed to landslides, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
“Affected hospitals are evacuating critical patients with the support of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces. Several hospitals in the affected areas are without electricity which has critically impeded their operability,” an UN update said.
With the increasing number of displaced people and lack of space in safe locations, temporary shelter and ensuring access to health services is needed. Disease surveillance and vector control is also a priority with the risk of communicable diseases.
“Over the past few months, health partners have recorded a significant increase in dengue cases (53,200 cases with over 125 deaths) compared to annual data from 2016,” the update pointed out.
The after effects of Tropical Cyclone Mora, in the Bay of Bengal, is being felt across the flood and landslide affected areas. The Department of Meteorology forecast strong winds of about 80 km/h and localized heavy rainfall particularly in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, North Western and Central provinces, where most of the 15 affected districts are located.
Additional rains are likely to heighten the risk of more landslides. As flood waters recede and roads cleared, the Government continues to validate the number of affected people and casualties.
As of May 30, 604,700 people have been affected according to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC). Confirmed casualties have increased to 194 deaths, 99 people remain missing and 83,200 people are displaced in 376 safe locations.
In Ratnapura District alone, 43,000 displaced people are in 181 locations. About 1,400 houses have been destroyed and 7,070 houses partially damaged.
These figures are expected to fluctuate as additional information becomes available from the divisional secretariats.
The Sri Lankan Ministry of Health has deployed medical teams mainly in Kalutara, Ratnapura and Galle
On May 29, the spokesperson of the Sri Lanka military reported that 1,700 troops were mobilized for rescue and relief operations in coordination with the DMC and local authorities.
The Armed Forces continue to clear roads including the route from Ratnapura and Kalawana. Troops were also deployed to reinforce the flood retaining wall of the Nilwala River.
Unfavourable weather conditions has constrained relief efforts in Kalawana and Athwalthota. Civil society and private individuals and organizations are actively engaged in the response with in-kind donations provided at set distribution points for delivery by military assets.
The Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management, a network linking private companies with humanitarian agencies and the Government, have supported authorities in aerial assessments, military rescue operations and the use of a local mobile-based taxi application to track people who need to be evacuated.
International bilateral assistance continues to be provided to national partners. On May 29, Japan announced donation of emergency relief goods (tents, plastic sheets, sleeping pads) through the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Australia will also release AUS$500,000 (US$372,400) to meet urgent needs identified by the Sri Lankan Government. The support will include the deployment of inflatable boats to support ongoing search and rescue efforts, delivery of water, safe spaces for children and vital health services to affected women and girls.
Teams from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) are en route to Sri Lanka to assess the situation in support of local partner organizations.
Aid From India and Pakistan
A third Indian naval ship, INS Jalashwa, arrived in Colombo on Tuesday with more relief material. Indian naval doctors and naval personnel are already working in the affected districts shoulder to shoulder with the Sri Lankan naval personnel. India has also provided weather warnings for four days.
A Pakistani naval vessel PNS Zulfiquar on Tuesday brought in dry rations, medicines, de-flooding pumps and other relief items. Additionally, the Ship has the capability to provide search and rescue facilities through its helicopter, rescue boats, medical team and expert divers.
The UN’s Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) on Tuesday initiated the development of an in-country response plan to respond to the most immediate needs of the flood and landslide affected communities.
A sectoral approach to coordinate the international communities’ immediate response was also endorsed. HCT sector leads were identified for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), emergency shelter and NFIs, health, food and nutrition, protection and education.
According to information reported by HCT partners on May 30, a total of 12 organizations (including 4 UN agencies) are currently providing support in nine of the 15 districts affected by the floods and landslides.
(The featured picture at the top shows a Sri Lankan family thronging a naval boat distributing food in a flooded village)