[Sri Lanka Floods] Singapore Red Cross sends humanitarian aid; volunteers on-ground for relief operations

Singapore, 25 June 2024 – In response to the ongoing floods in Sri Lanka, the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) is sending SGD50,000 in humanitarian aid, and a team of five staff and volunteers to support the relief and recovery operations by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS).

The contribution will support the SLRCS in delivering immediate relief, such as

  • providing safe drinking water, 
  • organising clean-up initiatives to clear flood-water-stacked places and drainages, to reduce risk of dengue
  • organising medical camps in flood-affected areas
  • providing immediate first aid assistance, 
  • providing non-food items to families displaced by the floods

“In the aftermath of the floods, Sri Lanka faces the dual challenge of addressing the immediate effects of the floods and the looming threat of a dengue epidemic. Unfortunately, the stagnant water from the floods created breeding grounds for mosquitoes, raising concerns about a potential outbreak in the coming weeks. Beyond addressing the most immediate needs, we are focused on supporting dengue awareness initiatives for vulnerable communities, to mitigate the public health risk,” said Mr Benjamin William, Secretary General/CEO, Singapore Red Cross.

The SRC team, comprising four volunteers who have undergone the SRC’s Overseas Disaster Deployment Training and one staff member, are deployed to Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 21 to 27 June, to conduct needs assessment for the affected communities, and to support humanitarian operations. These volunteers will be assisting in medical camps and distributing non-food items to displaced communities. With the possible severity of a dengue outbreak, the team will work on dengue prevention activities such as conducting house-to-house surveillance campaigns in selected zones to eliminate mosquito breeding sites. SRC will also work on dengue prevention campaigns in schools and conduct dengue outbreak control training for volunteers to prepare them for any potential dengue outbreak in the communities.

The Southwest monsoon has caused heavy rains across the country since mid-May. This has resulted in floods, wind damage and landslides, and affected communities in 20 out of 25 districts, including Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Matara, Galle, Ratnapura and Puttalam. The National Disaster Relief Service Centre reported 33 fatalities due to the severe weather conditions. Across the country, almost 5,000 people have been evacuated in evacuation centres and more than 200,000 people have been affected. Many homes have sustained severe damage and power supplies have been disrupted. The Disaster Management Centre has issued flood warnings for several river basins from different districts as more rains and high winds are expected.