Cyclone Hits Bangladesh, Myanmar While Relief Teams in Sri Lanka Work Tirelessly to Help Flood Survivors
June 7, 2017
While Sri Lanka got battered by severe flooding, parts of Bangladesh, Myanmar and Northeast India experienced its own natural disaster after a tropical storm in the Bay of Bengal formed into a cyclone.
Cyclone Mora made landfall in Bangladesh on May 30, producing wind speeds of up to 70 mph. Local officials managed to evacuate more than 300,000 people, minimizing the loss of life to around nine people—many of whom died after uprooted trees crashed into their homes.
Six churches led by GFA-supported pastors and 36 homes belonging to believers were destroyed or damaged after Cyclone Mora struck Bangladesh. Those more severely affected include the Rohingya, refugees from Myanmar who settled into the coastal regions of Bangladesh. About 20,000 Rohingya homes have been damaged.
Photos from Myanmar
The cyclone also affected parts of Myanmar, causing flooding and landslides in different parts of Rakhine and Chin states. GFA field partners serving in the area reported 42 homes belonging to believers were destroyed or damaged, along with one Bridge of Hope center. Around 1,000 residents have taken refuge in schools, churches or monasteries.
Cyclone Mora dissipated after entering the rugged terrain of Northeast India, but it brought along heavy rainfall.
Meanwhile in Sri Lanka, GFA-supported workers continue to minister aid and hope to the flood survivors. Already more than 1,500 people have received various forms of aid. Compassion Services teams plan to minister to 3,000 more in the week to come.
*Additional storms and Cyclone Mora have also displaced hundreds of thousands across Bangladesh, Mynamar and parts of Northeast India. Relief teams are ministering where they can and are determining areas of greatest need. As GFA-supported workers serve survivors of these various disasters, we’ll update you with progress and needs as we receive them from our field partners.
Help Disaster Relief teams serve survivors of flooding and other disasters, should another storm hit, by giving toward the Disaster Relief Fund.
June 5, 2017
500 Families Helped, 3,000 in Process
As it continues to rain on already flooded portions of Sri Lanka, teams of GFA-supported workers are laboring among the victims, bringing food, clothes and hope.
According to the latest reports from the Disaster Management Centre of Sri Lanka, more than 683,000 persons have been affected by floods and landslides, 213 are dead and 79 are still missing. As water saturates the landscape, landslides pose a continual threat, especially for homes built on slopes. So far, 18,413 homes have been damaged and another 2,788 have been destroyed. Many people across the nation have found refuge in schools or temples located on higher ground.
Reports of relief efforts continue to come in as GFA-supported teams on the ground minister to those around them.
On June 3, two teams of GFA-supported workers delivered dry rations and clothes to flood victims. One team went north to the capital city of Colombo. The other team, led by the leader of GFA-supported work in Sri Lanka, headed south, where damage is the worst. Some 460 families were blessed with dry rations and clothes.
On June 4, 53 families received dry rations and clothing. So far, GFA-supported workers have helped 1,500 people. They plan to minister to an additional 3,000 people in the next week, in addition to cleaning wells and purifying water for use.
June 4, 2017
On-the-Ground Relief Teams Bring Much-needed Supplies, Help to Flood Survivors
It’s estimated the number of people affected by the Sri Lanka flooding is now more than 698,000. Thousands of homes have been damaged as a result of the flooding as well. GFA-supported field partners have been able to reach out and provide cooked food, dry rations, dry clothes and basic medical help.
June 2, 2017
On-the-Ground Relief Teams Bring Much-needed Supplies, Help to Flood Survivors
GFA-supported workers began supplying much-needed relief items to flood victims on June 2. Around 450 cooked meals were given to families residing in temporary shelters set up by the government. Another 200 families have received dry-ration packets, kitchen utensils, clothing, bedding and medical kits. Children were also given school bags and stationery items so they could easily resume their education once schools are back in session.
Local GFA-supported pastors assessed conditions of the people in their communities so they will be able to provide help tailored to individual needs. Long-term relief plans include cleaning wells, which have been contaminated by the floodwaters, and conducting medical camps for survivors to stave off disease.
According to the United Nations1, “Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry is also deploying mobile health units and will introduce vector control measures to combat expected outbreaks of mosquito-borne dengue fever, which often follows flooding. Displaced people living in emergency shelters are particularly vulnerable.”
Other news sources indicate that thousands of people may face the threat of cholera and dysentery, in addition to dengue fever, because of crowded conditions in displacement camps and the lack of sanitary facilities.
As of June 2, 208 people have died and another 92 are missing. The Disaster Management Centre2 of Sri Lanka reported that 1,919 houses have been destroyed and another 10,477 have been partially damaged. More than 674,000 people—including 175,000 families—have been affected.
Please pray for GFA-supported workers and other relief teams as they provide much-needed assistance to flood survivors.
1Source: United Nations. Sri Lanka: UN agency deploys rapid assessment teams to assist in wake of monsoon floods, landslides. June 2, 2017
2Disaster Management Centre, Situation Report for Bad Weather Condition - Summary. June 2, 2017.
May 30, 2017
Relief Workers Wait Anxiously While Death Toll Climbs in Sri Lanka Flooding
Flooding and a series of landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains have killed 196 people living in the southwestern region of Sri Lanka. The death toll is estimated to climb.
The Disaster Management Center (DMC) of Sri Lanka reports 63 people are injured, while another 93 are missing. More than 600,000 people have been affected, making this the worst flooding to hit the island since 2003.
Already around 84,000 people have been rescued and placed in displacement camps located throughout the regions.
A GFA-supported worker, Vidu, reports that "nobody can think of anything else other than going to safe places."
One church led by a GFA-supported pastor is under threat, "but they are safe as the water level has not risen," he says. At another location, three feet of water has entered a church.
"Some of the believers' homes are submerged in floods, and evacuation has been done by navy boats," he says. "Three believers' families are stranded and waiting to be evacuated to higher ground."
The house and church of another GFA-supported pastor, who is ministering in one of the 14 affected districts of Sri Lanka, is submerged, but he and his family remain safe as the water level begins to recede.
Currently, only the DMC, armed forces, police and media units are allowed to visit and provide relief to the affected areas because of the dangerous currents in the floodwaters and the heavy winds.
"We can only pray and wait till we can travel to these areas," Vidu says. "The immediate need will be to supply cooked meals and drinking water to the affected families. We can only do this when clearance is received to visit areas."j
Once the water recedes, the long-term plan is to mobilize GFA-supported Compassion Services teams to clean and wash houses, clean wells and provide drinking water until water sources are safe to use.
Prayer requests from the field:
- Please pray the rains will recede and the rescue teams will be able to reach the affected areas soon.
- Pray God will protect all the pastors, missionaries and believers who are affected by the flood situation.
- Pray God will enable Compassion Services teams to be prepared with relief items and equipment in order to go to the villages as soon as it’s declared safe to travel.
- Pray for all the government institutions, village heads, armed forces and police members who are risking their lives to save innocent lives, and pray God will protect them.
- Pray God will protect the lives of all people and grant strength and comfort to those who lost their family members and houses because of this disaster.
- Pray also for the officers who are handling the relief aid process, that they will make sure to send the given aid, especially from India (two ship loads), to the innocent people who are affected as soon as possible.
- Pray God will protect the remaining submerged houses as the owners have gone to shelters. Some thieves have tried to break in to houses to steal belongings. Right now, police members and navy boats have been deployed to check the security of the area.
- Pray rains will cease in the central zone as the main reservoirs are reaching the hazardous overflow level. This will cause great damage to the existing situation if gates are opened and huge water amounts are released into already flooded rivers.