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Sri Lanka emergency: Death toll mounts following severe floods

Press release | London, 2nd June 11:30 GMT

Archive image: Flood and landsides caused by Roany cyclone in 2016, Sri Lanka.

Archive image: Flood and landsides caused by Roany cyclone in 2016, Sri Lanka. | © S.Krishanthi/Handicap International

Torrential downpours and flash floods in southwest Sri Lanka over the weekend claimed at least 169 lives. More than half a million people are affected, and 75,000 people have been forced to leave their homes. Handicap International’s emergency response experts and the local team in Sri Lanka are evaluating ways to help.

Severe floods and mudslides across have also left families searching for more than 110 people. The death toll is likely to rise, and hundreds of thousands of people need emergency assistance.

Handicap International has worked in Sri Lanka since 2003. Teams responded with financial and housing assistance when floods hit in November 2015 and following Cyclone Roanu in May 2016.

Anne-Lyse Coutin, Handicap International’s Project Officer for Sri Lanka explains “The 2015 and 2016 disasters caused the displacement of approximately 350,000 people. We helped as many as possible to pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives. Some of the same areas have been badly hit again and it looks as though the impact may be even worse. It’s devastating for everyone involved.”

In addition to people’s immediate needs for survival, Handicap International is particularly concerned about the medium-term recovery in these communities. “The floods come after a serious drought and widespread crop failure. People are now facing 3 consecutive failed seasons, impacting their food security, livelihood and overall resilience.” adds Coutin.

Our emergency response experts and the team in Sri Lanka will determine how best to respond to the people who are most in need.

Interviews available upon request with field staff in Sri Lanka.

Press contact
Marlene Sigonney, Handicap International UK
media[at]   | +44 (0)870 774 3737 | +44 (0)7508 810 520

About Handicap International
Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Handicap International is a charity working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work tirelessly alongside disabled and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.

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