Due to torrential monsoon rains, water levels of five rivers - Kalu, Kelani, Gin, Nilwala and Attanagalu Oya - rose submerging vast expanses of land and causing insurmountable damage. The flooding brought by the rains, which started 25 May 2017, is believed to be the island's worst flooding in 14 years.
Urgent items are needed for immediate relief, and include dry rations such as rice, dhal, bottled water, tea leaves, milk powder; hygiene items, such as soap, toothbrushes, sanitary goods, bed sheets, clothes, etc.; also, baby food, canned food, ready-to-eat packaged food such as biscuits, bread, jam, and related are desperately needed to guarantee survival.
Various partner organizations working closely with Don Bosco in Sri Lanka have asked the Salesians to help them provide relief supplies to people suffering in regions wherein they operate. The CMRS (Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Sri Lanka) have also appealed to the Salesians for urgent help.
There are two Don Bosco institutions located within the regions affected by the floods and landslides. The boundary wall of one of the institution has collapsed completely.
Don Bosco’s Response
As there is a desperate need for help at this time of disaster, Don Bosco Sri Lanka has set up a Disaster Mitigation and Relief Unit within its Provincial House which will coordinate all the relief work. This unit is headed and monitored by the Provincial Economer.
The unit will not only carry out urgent relief activities, but also prepare for post-flood resettlement of people affected by floods and landslides. Hence, the unit will procure items such as mattresses, mosquito nets, cooking utensils, rice, milk powder, sugar, tea leaves, dhal/pulses, coconut, coconut milk powder, salt, onions, potatoes, instant noodles, canned food, biscuits, packed juices, Dettol soap, toothbrush, tooth paste, sanitary napkins, towels, bed sheets, baby food, Gripe water, flashlights, batteries, emergency lamps, stationary supplies for students, medicines, first aid kits, etc.
Also, the Don Bosco Center will avail itself of the facilities and manpower at its disposal, including students of the Electrical, Plumbing, Welding and Civil Engineering Sections from all its institutions across the island, to help repair the flood-damaged houses.
Hence, the call for help from all the generous and kind-hearted friends and well-wishers the world over, in whichever way possible, through Don Bosco for the flood victims who are in desperate need of assistance at this time of crisis. Don Bosco Sri Lanka pledges to handle all donations and help to the needy through its Disaster Mitigation and Relief Unit with absolute transparency and the highest ethical standards.
Over the past few years it has been observed that Sri Lanka has been highly prone to environmental disasters including torrential rain, cyclones, floods, landslides, heat waves, draughts, and the like – and on a more frequent and regular basis. It is, however, important to note the pattern of this phenomenon; the South Western Monsoon not only affects the South or the South Western Region of the island, but causes, in fact, destruction throughout the region as it progresses across the isle during the monsoon season. The regions located in the South Western Province is where it originates every year, but midway into the monsoon season, the Western, Central and North Central regions are also badly affected by floods and landslides. Hence, it is important for NGOs like Don Bosco to be well-equipped with disaster preparedness to effectively mitigate what are foreseeable and predictable disasters. This is the key reason why Don Bosco Sri Lanka has set up a Disaster Mitigation and Relief Unit within its Provincial House.
“It is my humble request for you to kindly help us reach out to the ones who are in desperate need at this time of crisis,” concludes Fr Joseph Almeida, Provincial of Sri Lanka (LKC).