Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2014, 17:47 GMT

Sri Lanka: Flood IDPs returning home

Publisher Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Publication Date 28 May 2010
Cite as Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Sri Lanka: Flood IDPs returning home, 28 May 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c04c194c.html [accessed 31 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

GAMPAHA, 28 May 2010 (IRIN) - Residents in southern and western Sri Lanka displaced by heavy flooding last week are returning to their homes, authorities say.

"Living in a tent outside a temple with hundreds of other people is not a positive experience," Prasad Dammika, 36, from the town of Gampaha, one of the worst affected areas, told IRIN. "Tonight I can sleep peacefully." 

According to the Sri Lankan Disaster Management Centre (DMC), as of 28 May, more than 13,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Colombo and Gampaha - two of the worst affected districts - had returned to their homes. By midday on 28 May, some 4,000 people were still displaced, the DMC reported.

"People are now returning home," Pradeep Kodippily, the DMC's assistant director, confirmed in the capital, Colombo, noting that aside from those disaster relief centres still in operation in Gampaha, the rest had closed.

"We believe that everybody can be in their homes by tomorrow evening," he said. 

"The situation is very much under control. People are returning home now because the water levels have gone down. We are also conducting mobile medical clinics around affected districts to prevent any diseases being spread. So far no problems have been reported," added Abdul Hameed Mohamed Fowzie, Sri Lanka's Minister of Disaster Management.

Thirteen districts were affected by days of pre-monsoon rains, prompting the establishment of 85 government shelters. As of 28 May, just 21 such centres (17 in Gampaha and four in Colombo) were still operating.

The UN has been assisting the government in its relief efforts, including the distribution of food and non-food aid. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) provided the DMC with water purification tablets, high energy biscuits and water pumps.

More than 500,000 people were affected by the rains, which began on 14 May, damaging more than 4,600 houses and submerging dozens of roads and impeding access in Gampaha and Colombo.

At least 28 people are confirmed dead and scores more were injured by the floods, authorities say.

According to Sri Lanka's meteorological department, showers are expected next week but no heavy flooding. Southwest monsoon rains are expected in June and will likely last through September or October.

us/ds/mw


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