14 members of Team Rubicon UK are travelling to Sri Lanka following severe flooding to provide urgently needed humanitarian support.
After two days of torrential rain 224 people have lost their lives and a further 79 are missing. The Government estimates that nearly 700,000 people have been directly affected by floods and landslides. At least 150,000 are women, 7,600 are pregnant and a further 189,000 are children. As well as damage to homes and infrastructure there is a significant risk from dengue fever and diarrhoea which the UN say “is starting to spiral out of control”.
Reaching these isolated communities across such a vast area is proving extremely challenging because of the lack of roads. Many routes have been destroyed and many remain submerged. Homes have been devastated and many have become inhabitable. In the hardest hit areas flooding and landslides have caused extensive damage and the situation is deteriorating daily.
Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre has issued further landslide and flood warnings as the weather continues to hamper relief. In Rathnapui district alone 44,473 displaced people are now spread across 190 locations.
The volunteers from Team Rubicon are predominantly military veterans who have repurposed the skills learnt in the military into volunteering their skills when crisis hits. The priorities for the team will be rebuilding bridges to reunite communities and give children access to education; damage assessment of buildings that may be unsafe; working with communities to provide temporary shelter for families; and assessing water and sanitation, including water testing to try and prevent the spread of disease.