Introduction to the Flood Relief Program
Similar to the other countries that have a tropical climate, Sri Lanka does not have the usual four seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter but merely two phases of climatic change that make the meteoric landscape; the South-west and North – East monsoon. There are two specific instances that the Monsoons occupy on the calendar, which is July – September and December – Feb, sandwiching the summer months of April, May and June.
After experiencing eons of similar weather patterns, the Sri Lankan biomes ranging from Tropical Rainforests to Coastal regions have often adopted natural and artificial defense mechanisms to prevent erosion and overflooding, when attempting to maintain the equilibrium of their environment. This is primarily seen in the Central Province, where monsoon season carries the added baggage of mudslides that could overflow entire villages and destroy the outpost roads leading to rural locations. An artificial preventative that the Government has placed was installing steal netting against the rock walls parallel to roads and overshadowing villages to prevent excessive debris from crushing the huts and cars below. However, a more natural defense mechanism that the environment has adopted is growing deep rooted plants along the ridge and slope of the rock wall, to ensure that the soil is kept firmly in place.
However, a district that is hardly affected by the monsoon seasons is the Northern most district as it is primarily built up of a dry and arid climate that is often prone to droughts than flooding. Contrary to the norm, during the early weeks of the December Monsoon, the strait and peninsula of Jaffna began to overflow from both ocean and lagoon water pouring onto the streets of the town center. Stunned by the flash floods, the town provincial council were ill-equipped to deal with a disaster of this magnitude and called for funding and aid to combat this issue. However, the commercial and legislative capitals were facing flooding issues of their own coupled with the buzz of the presidential elections.
Therefore, my mother and I decided to create a youth team in order to raise sufficient funds to help alleviate the flooding issue. Our youth team spanned from fresh undergraduates from Colombo University to Chemistry teachers at CIS Kandy and private owners of local businesses and encompassed 15 – 20 volunteers. Together, we targeted Multi-National Co-operations such as Careems, Hilton and Laughs, Keels by sending our prospectus and publicizing our need to find sponsors to invest in our Flood Recovery efforts. In total, Rs. 3 million was raised to fund the flood relief efforts. This funding was used to buy a plethora of basic essentials that the citizens in the Northern Districts lost when their housing was flooded.
Firstly, the youth team and I did a recce on the affected places, primarily Jaffna, Vavuniya and Killinochi to witness firsthand the damage and destruction of the flooding. I remember feeling disoriented and disconnected with what I was seeing; the water reaching the doors of the shops lined through the town, a few debris floating on the unsettlingly still water, the jagged ends of the glass, menacingly sticking out as remnants of a window. I recall the air thick with devastation and ruin and seeing the villagers faces painted with a mixture of fear and hopelessness, pleading for help and some form of compensation, even if it was pity and sympathy.
Then only, did I comprehend the full extent of the emotional and physical wreckage that the Northern districts faced and thus armed with the knowledge, the youth team and I decided upon which essentials to purchase and package for those victim to the flooding. We decided upon creating packages for entire families to make the distribution easier.
One package entails
- 2 Kg of Rice
- 2 Kg of Flour
- 1 Kg of Dhal
- 500g of Soya
- 1 Sanitary pads pack
- 1 mosquito net
- 1 single bed sheet
- Vendol soap, toothpaste and balm
- 1 pack of essential medicine; Panadol etc.
- 1 Mackerel Salmon tin
- 1 tea pack
- 2 biscuit packets
- 2 CR 40 page books
- Writing utensils; 1 pencil box, 2 pencils, 2 pens, 1 rule and 1 eraser.
The three locations that would receive aid was Jaffna, Vavuniya and Killinochi which will be described in the following posts.
The learning outcomes that were explored during this period were:
- Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.
- Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience.
- Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions.
Read articles below to understand the devastation and extent of the Flash Floods of 2019: