Over the past two weeks heavier than usual rains have fallen on the country of Sri Lanka, affecting more than one million people on the Indian Ocean island. The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) is working through long-time partners in the country to provide food and other essential aid to those most in need.
Many regions of Sri Lanka have reported levels of rain that haven’t been seen in over three decades. In the eastern region of Batticaloa, the hardest affected region, more than 393 mm of rain fell during one 24-hour period. This is the heaviest rainfall that has been seen in more than 100 years.
The result of these heavy monsoon rains has been severe flooding, with estimates suggesting that more than 200,000 people have been displaced from their homes and are now seeking shelter in temporary camps. In addition, 43 people have died, 51 people were injured, and 4 are missing.
But the crisis doesn’t end there. The high water levels have polluted wells, drowned livestock, and destroyed crops. They have also cut some communities off -- leaving them without access to other sources of food, water, or aid. Fear of outbreaks of dengue fever and cholera run high.
CRWRC’s ability to respond quickly to the urgent need is the result of the strong relationships it has developed in Sri Lanka and its experience responding to previous disasters in the country. CRWRC had offices in Sri Lanka from 2004 through 2008, as it carried out a $4.2 million (USD) response to the South Asia tsunami. Upon the completion of that project, CRWRC left the country but maintained its relationship with organizations including LEADS (a Sri Lankan partner organization) and ZOA, in order to be well positioned to respond quickly when and if a new crisis arose.
In 2009, CRWRC worked with these two organizations to provide food and non-food aid to displaced families following political unrest and conflict. Now, in the face of this new crisis, the three organizations will once again work together to provide emergency food and non-food aid to thousands of families.
“CRWRC is blessed to have such strong partners in Sri Lanka,” said CRWRC’s Senior Project Manager, Grace Wiebe. “With them we plan to reach thousands of displaced families in an efficient and effective manner. Through their staff on the ground, CRWRC has already begun to respond, providing food, water, shelter, and other emergency aid right away. This is critical as the affected population was quite poor to begin with and there is serious need to support them.”
Part of CRWRC’s response will be funded through its account at the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Additional resources are urgently needed, however, to cover the costs of non-food items such as tarps, blankets, water, mosquito nets and cooking utensils.
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(choose "Sri Lanka Floods 2011" from the Disasters - International category)
Checks, marked “Sri Lanka Floods 2011", can also be sent to:
2850 Kalamazoo Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49560
P.O. Box 5070 STN LCD
Burlington, ON L7R 1Y8
~ by Kristen deRoo Vanderberg, CRWRC Communications