Sri Lanka’s deadly floods could exacerbate dengue crisis, warns Save the Children as more rainfall is on the way

Saturday 27 May 2017

Press Release

May 27, 2017 – Communities devastated by the flooding and landslides that have so far killed 100 people in Sri Lanka could have another battle on their hands after almost 53,000 dengue fever cases were recorded across the country since the start of the year.

 Save the Children is warning that the stagnant flood waters, providing the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, could exacerbate the dengue crisis that has seen an almost 150 percent increase in cases compared to the same period last year.

 At the same time Sri Lanka’s Department of Meteorology is predicting more rainfall in the flood and landslide affected south west of the country in the coming days.

 “The humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka right now is alarming. The impact of these early monsoon season downpours has been far more devastating than what we’d normally expect this time of year,” Save the Children Country Director in Sri Lanka, Chris McIvor said.

 “We’re particularly worried we could start seeing a further increase in the number of dengue cases because of the stagnant water that the floods will leave in their wake, which is the last thing needed by families and communities that have already lost so much.”

 Save the Children teams are on the ground assessing the humanitarian needs and are ready to respond, including by distributing hygiene items to prevent the spread of disease and illness, supporting damaged schools to re-open, distributing safe drinking water and household items to affected families and providing psychosocial support to distressed children.

 “Aid agencies and government authorities are working around the clock to help those most in need, however one thing that is out of our control is the weather. If we see more heavy rains sweep across the country, not only will it increase the humanitarian needs but it will also make accessing communities even more difficult,” Mr. McIvor said.

“Access is already hard enough. We’re hearing reports of large swathes of land covered in water, homes and buildings destroyed and roads that are totally cut off, leaving some affected communities virtually unreachable.”

Save the Children has been working in Sri Lanka since 1974 providing education, health care and child protection services to vulnerable communities, as well as responding to numerous humanitarian crises including the recent drought and rubbish dump collapse in Colombo.

Photo Credit- Nisansala Hewayalage/Save the Children