The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Sri Lanka is ramping up its response after extensive flooding has affected a sizable part of that South Asian nation. Ten districts in Sri Lanka have been experiencing severe floods and landslides since June 3, 2021, due to the southwestern monsoon rains. According to the Disaster Management Center (DMC) of Sri Lanka, 271,110 people have been affected, while 26,806 people have been displaced. Structural damage to several buildings has also been reported in several areas.
Even though the rains have subsided, and the water has receded in certain areas, the lives of countless people have been severely affected. Families are returning to their homes, but many have lost most of their belongings.
“Through the assessments of needs conducted in the flood-affected Kalutara and Colombo districts, ADRA Sri Lanka discovered that families needed various household, kitchen, and personal care items that could help them restart their lives gradually,” agency staff in the country reported. As a response initiative, ADRA activated its National Emergency Management Plan (NEMP) to distribute Non-Food Item (NFI) kits to those affected in the Kalutara and Colombo districts. The NFI kits consist of essentials such as mosquito nets, towels, sanitary pads, bed sheets, buckets, cups, and other toiletries. These kits were designed to meet SPHERE humanitarian response standards and the contextual needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
ADRA coordinated with the Disaster Management Center and the relevant District Secretariats in the Kalutara and Colombo districts to distribute 415 NFI kits to the most vulnerable families affected. The agency’s relief efforts in the Kalutara district were carried out with the help of Nature Volunteers Association, a local non-governmental organization.
Violet Kusuma was one of the beneficiaries from Waliwita in the Colombo District, who was severely affected by the floods. Most of her children have married and moved away, but she lives with one of her sons, who is a person with a disability. Kusuma is the sole breadwinner for her and her son. For a living, she sells coconut and other fruits from her garden on a small hut by the side of the road.
‘‘We are so grateful for your assistance,” Kusuma told the ADRA staff who contacted her. “We had to move out of our house and live in the hut due to the floods. Water has receded now, and we have moved back, but all our cooking utensils and other belongings have been damaged. So, these items that you have donated mean a lot to us,’’ she said.
ADRA International is funding the emergency response in Sri Lanka through the Disaster and Famine Relief Offering and the Sri Lanka Mission of Seventh-day Adventists.