Relentless, torrential rain through late December and January 2011 has caused widespread flooding in Sri Lanka. Heavy rains continued the first week of February 2011, causing more flooding. Eleven people have died in this latest round and 320,000 have fled their homes.
More than one million people have been affected since flooding began, including thousands in refugee camps who were already struggling with difficult living conditions. These refugees were forced to flee their homes during the violent end to Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, and now, entire camps have been evacuated.
“We are experiencing continuous rains for days and the flood situation is very bad,” said World Concern Sri Lanka Country Director Selina Prem Kumar. “It is sad that those who have been vulnerable are affected again and their livelihood is totally destroyed.”
According to BBC News, more than 325,000 people were displaced in January, and farm land and rice fields have been destroyed. Some homes are up to six feet under water. Reaching people with aid, especially in remote areas, is a major challenge, as stretches of railway and roads are underwater.
World Concern works in many areas of Sri Lanka, including camps for displaced war victims. “Most of our working locations in the north, east and highlands are affected, and some villages are cut off from the mainland,” said Selina. “Trincomalee alone has 62 IDP (internally displaced persons) camps and we will be starting distribution of dry food by Friday, Jan. 14.”
Along with food, World Concern will provide additional forms of emergency aid and supplies for flood victims in Sri Lanka. Disaster officials say there is no drinking water, and people will need tarps, water purification tablets and blankets.
Selina and the World Concern staff ask for continued prayers for the flood victims.
You can read more about our work rebuilding lives in Sri Lanka after the civil war farther down on this page.
To help us provide immediate help to flood victims in Sri Lanka, please click here.
Imagine the trauma of war coming to your neighborhood. Planes fly overhead as bombs explode outside, shaking your home - your ears ringing. You and your family huddle together and take cover as best you can. As the days turn into weeks, you learn that close relatives have lost their lives.
This has been life for families caught in the middle of the Sri Lanka civil war, which ended in May of 2009. Since that time, World Concern donors have helped about 30,000 displaced people in this island nation near India, people who were sent to camps within the country.
Family by family, as the government allows them to be released, we are helping these traumatized people return to their damaged villages and rebuild their lives. We do this in several ways, including helping them grow food, working to get people back to work, and assisting families repair their damaged homes.
As the war escalated in 2008 and 2009, World Concern provided the basics for war victims: food, clothes, even toilets. Now, we're helping in significant long-term development and reconciliation.
We are working with the neediest of the needy, including people who can’t do anything for themselves because of injury. Many people have lost limbs. A lot of them are burned.
In the rebuilding of lives in Sri Lanka, World Concern feels it is critical to provide opportunities to connect the Tamil minority with the Sinhalese majority through relationships, which often occur in business. Only through reconcilation and opportunities does World Concern see a sustained peace.
Kurt Campbell has another passion, though: Sri Lanka. Before May 2009, he didn't even know where the island nation was. Once her heard about the plight of civilians enduring a civil war, though, he had to take action.
First, he donated to help begin World Concern's disaster relief efforts and bring life-saving aid to families who have lost it all. Then he felt the call and had the opportunity to go to the front lines and see World Concern at work.
"The work is amazing. This is saving lives," Kurt says.