THE Church of Ceylon is aiding thousands of displaced and injured Sri Lankans after flooding and landslides caused by a severe tropical storm in mid-May devastated homes and livelihoods in Colombo diocese.
More than 100 people have died and 99 are reported missing.
The country’s western province, along the Kelani River, and the north-east of the capital, Colombo — where large numbers live on reclaimed marshland — are among the worst-affected areas.
Last week the Church called for an emergency response to clear up the mess and prevent the spread of disease, as floodwaters began to recede. The homeless have been offered food, water, and temporary accommodation.
The Bishop of Colombo, the Rt Revd Dhiloraj Ranjit Canagasabey, said: “We appeal to you for your prayers and cooperation towards assisting the affected people of our nation at this time of suffering and need.”
The Anglican mission agency Us. (formerly USPG), which has been assisting the Church, has reported that more than 128,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed. It warned that this figure might rise in the event of further landslides. The Sri Lankan government has estimated that around 30,000 businesses may also have been affected.
The Church, which provided 30 boats during initial emergency rescue operations, is focusing on supporting families in the villages of Puttalam, Chilaw, Urubokke, and Dandugama.“Families have received food, toiletries, boots, medicines, cooking utensils, bedding, water purification tablets, chlorine, and cleaning materials,” a spokesman for Us. said. “The Church is also helping with house repairs and providing schools books and supplies so the children can continue in education.
”The next phase will be to rebuild homes and rehabilitate communities.
A statement on the diocese of Colombo’s website reported: “We are very grateful to everyone who has contributed generously in cash or kind or by volunteering their time.”