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While severe flooding in Australia has caught massive attention from the media, Brazil, the Philippines and Sri Lanka have been hit hard by flooding resulting in many deaths and hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Sri Lanka in particular has endured mudslides that have killed 21 people; the total death toll currently stands at 27, according to a report from the Associated Press in Columbo. More than 300,000 people in Sri Lanka have been forced out of their homes due to flooding. Read more
Like many countries in the Global South, Sri Lanka is burdened with a variety of hazards, including cyclones, floods and not long ago a tsunami. But one of the most severe hazards in Sri Lanka is drought and is considered the most significant hazard in many districts of the country, such as Hambantota and Puttalam.
Dr Gunatilake Marasinghe from University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, recently gave a seminar at IHRR: ‘International Relief Aid and Surviving Droughts in Sri Lanka.’ He explained how 2,548,310 people are exposed to drought in Sri Lanka compared to other hazards such as cyclones, where far fewer people are exposed at 24,132. Indeed, drought has affected Sri Lanka since ancient times and leads to scarcity of water, food and other resources. In 2001, drought overtook seven districts in Sri Lanka affecting 231,076 families.
Aid was provided to people in Sri Lanka during this time, but one of the major obstacles to overcome, as is the case with international relief aid efforts in other countries, is delays in receiving aid. International relief aid tends to flow into areas with high density droughts, but a major problem that has yet to be resolved in Sri Lanka is providing aid to people who endure mild recurrent droughts that are also a threat to their lives. Listen to Dr Gunatilake Marasinghe’s seminar at IHRR here. Read more