May 26, Colombo: In response to a series of floods and landslides which swept across Sri Lanka between 14th and 22nd May, the European Commission is providing Euro 200,000 (Rs. 32.8 million) in humanitarian funding to assist the most affected populations, the European Union said in a statement Thursday.
This aid will directly benefit 20,000 individuals who have been heavily impacted in the worst-hit districts Colombo, Gampaha, Puttalam, Kegalle and Kurunegala.
The European Commission said the EU-funding will support the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society in delivering much-needed assistance through the provision of emergency non-food relief items such as tarpaulins, latrines, household kits, school items, as well as medical and first aid services. The action will also ensure the most vulnerable households have access to safe water, sanitation facilities and good hygiene practices.
The funding is part of the EU's overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Sri Lanka started experiencing a series of heavy downpours on 14th May. The depression later intensified into powerful Tropical Storm Roanu, which brought the highest reported rainfall since 2005 and triggered widespread flooding and landslides in 22 of the country's 25 districts.
According to the latest report released by the Dias aster Management Center, the harsh weather conditions left at least 100 dead and affected close to 260,000 people, more than 126,000 of whom are displaced. The torrential rain and its subsequent impacts also destroyed over 500 homes whilst causing damage to more than 4,000 others.
Although floodwaters have started receding after the system moved away from the island nation on 22nd May, paving the way for most of the displaced persons to return home, families living in low-lying areas will inevitably remain displaced for a longer period.
An expert from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has been deployed to Sri Lanka and is currently participating in needs assessments to see whether further support is required, the Commission said.