A powerful storm hit Sri Lanka this week causing rains not seen in a quarter century. In one 24-hour period, rains fell equaling ¼ of the normal annual rainfall. According to their Disaster Management Center, a half-million have been driven from their homes to higher ground, including 200,000 in the capital city of Colombo, where the Kelani River burst its banks. According to media reports, the worst hit region is 60 miles inland in a more mountainous area that also experienced mudslides burying at least three villages in 50 feet of mud. There are 63 known dead, mostly from mudslides, but hundreds more are still missing, and feared lost. Fields and streets throughout the country are submerged, with 19 out of 25 districts experiencing flash flooding, according to the Red Cross. Torrential rains continue to fall.
Wesleyan National Superintendent Cedric Rodrigo (wife, Sharlini) are among those driven from their home. Cedric writes:
May 17. The floods in our area are the biggest I have ever known. We got out of our home yesterday in time. We stand to lose everything. So do thousands of others. I am getting reports that the water is now rising to our upstairs. We left laptops and important documents upstairs, not expecting water to rise so high. People have sought refuge in the Wesleyan church, which is on somewhat higher ground, but now flooding has entered the church, too. The water is still rising.
May 18. This morning and afternoon four of us reached out to people with some much-needed help. 35 people are taking refuge in the top floor of our church building. We brought food and other items to them. Real help will be needed when the water recedes. We are lodging at the moment with my parents. Our neighborhood is completely under water. Hopefully, there are no mortalities among our church people. But many of our church families are affected including us. (More photos below.)
May 19. The current flood water disaster may be as big as the 2004 tsunami with the exception of the loss of lives. We are looking for emergency lodging for people fleeing their homes. Suran, a young man from our church, offered to take in 40 people. This is typical of many of our people. The waters still continue to rise.
Global Partners is receiving assistance to help the Wesleyan Church in Sri Lanka in this crisis, both in assisting their own members and reaching out with the love of Christ to others. To help, you may give online here. Thank you!
Or, if giving by check, make it payable to: Global Partners. On the memo line or in an accompanying note, write WM05-0194/Sri Lanka Flood Relief. Mail to: Global Partners, PO Box 50434, Indianapolis, IN 46250-0434. God bless you.