The Floods

May 23 2016.

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The Floods… Responses and Experiences
It has been more than a week now. The continuous rain followed by floods has left many dead, displaced and desolate. 
People are still stranded and still in need. Help has come from fellow citizens of all corners of Sri Lanka. 

We took a look at people’s reactions to this natural disaster that has wreaked havoc in our little island. 

⦁    Firsthand experience

“I felt like my entire life was packed in a bag. And that once this is over we’ll have to have a fresh start. Personally I didn't feel anything on moving out because we had close relatives who took us in. And even when moving out, all I kept thinking was about the people who had it so much worse. Until these things happen to you, you never realise what people actually go through. And we just wanted to help out people who were worsely affected. In that moment, I was touched that so many people called and checked up on us. What we’ll really need is a lot of help when moving back in to clean the house. And so many people offered to help.”

– Dinoo Wickramage

⦁    Keeping with the spirit of Vesak

“Driving down Bauddhaloka Mawatha made me really sad. Regardless of what's going on in most parts of the country, everyone else seems to be setting up for Vesak festivities! I don't know about you, but I don't feel like celebrating. Imagine how much we could do if we sacrificed on all those street lights and bought rations with it instead? Just a thought.”

– Malisha Andrahennadi

⦁    Uniting in times of need

“It is calamities and hardships that make people want to leave, but it is calamities and hardships that make me want to stay in Sri Lanka. My country amazes me.  Some try so hard to divide Lanka by culture, nationality and race. Yet one natural calamity, a moment of hardship and everyone gets together and proves we are nothing but one. People of Sri Lanka teach you one important lesson: it is one hand which heals another.” 

– Hafsa Mazahim

⦁    Empty Shelves

“You won't find water bottles, soap etc. at most of the Colombo supermarkets. Why? Generosity. Sri Lanka. That's why.” 

– Ishan Jayasekara

(Pictures taken by Vishwa Steinwall at Keells Wijerama)

⦁    Making a difference

“After seeing the plight of the people drastically affected by the torrential rains, I wanted to do something for them! They needed all of us, to come out of this strong.  It's never easy to do something of this nature, alone. I thought to myself that being a part of a university in itself is an asset to collect donations. With the support of the Vice Chancellor, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Lecturers we were able to launch this relief programme. So many shared our posts calling for donations on Facebook; they spread the word among friends and family and by Friday noon, we had a substantial amount of supplies for the people affected by the floods. We are sincerely thankful to everyone who helped us. I can't explain the sense of satisfaction I feel at the moment. But it's not over yet. We launched Phase two of our campaign calling for more specific prioritised items. And we are thinking of ways to help these individuals, because the real struggle comes when the water recedes.” 

– Sajini Fernando

Like Sajini there were so many people coming together at their schools, universities and work places to collect donations and help in any way they can!


⦁   Creating awareness on Social Media

“It’s a disaster and there is no doubt that people rally around but it is important that people get what is needed and we don't give just what is at hand. Needs are varied and if people can help according to that the impact is greater. 50 packets of dahl and 50 rice packets for 100 people for is better than 100 packets rice only.” 

– Sharanya Sekaram

⦁    Volunteering man power

“I got to volunteer through my work place when they asked for help. What drove me was that the urge to help someone in any way that you can when you can, well this time the whole country. As a country Sri Lanka has given me a lot. Friends, family and most all a good smile and a cheerful heart. And it was my time to give back; not much but even in a small way that I could.” 

– Dinush Thiyagarajan

⦁    Believing in your faith

“With prayer, I was saddened to see people misinterpreting the concept or power of real intercession. Today it’s become more of a hashtag than a solution to problems. It's birthday cake but not daily bread. As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, I build my life on prayer. Prayer, if you knew how powerful it is, can calm stormy seas. The word to note is “intercession”. One needs to intercede and keep at it until one gets the solution one has been looking for. So to all the believers out there, YOU need to keep praying on behalf of YOUR country.” 

– Shiloni Abeywickrema

⦁    Helping from a distance

“It has been so encouraging to watch the unity and solidarity of our people and also the way the diaspora has stepped up to respond to the current need. We are also grateful for the Sri Lanka Unites networks both locally and internationally through which we have been able to stay connected and help. For the two of us it is challenging to be away from Sri Lanka, especially at a time like this,  however we are glad to help from afar and eager to come back home in the next month and contribute to the long term response.”

– Shruthi and Prashan De Visser

Text by Jithendri Gomes


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