During March and April we were enduring unbearably hot weather, so when occasional afternoon showers started in early May, they were welcomed as a relief from the boiling sun.
But on May 13th there was quite a change and he rain came more frequently and more heavily. Saturday brought cool, dry, and cloudy weather, but Sunday morning came another change. It started raining early in the morning and continued all day, and all over Sri Lanka. I was in nearby Kurunegala and by the time I returned to Kandy, roads were underwater in Kurunegala and I saw several landslides on my trip back to Kandy.
On Monday morning I continued my journey home to Colombo by train—and the rain had not stopped. During the trip home I saw rivers overflowing their banks and houses underwater up to the rooftops. By the time I returned home, there was a big storm with swirling winds, lightning, thunder, and very heavy rain. That same day I had to travel to our training center in Colombo. The road we usually take was flooded and we almost were swept away, forcing us to turn back. We tried to find alternate roads, but many were underwater and impassable.
It was still raining on Tuesday and reports of deaths by drowning, lightning strikes, and landslides were starting to emerge. Thousands of people were forced out of their homes and in several places villagers were isolated and the military had to step in with boats and helicopters. Then news came of a massive landslide burying three villages and leaving several hundred people missing. It was almost unspeakable.
By Wednesday and Thursday the rain had lessened, but there were still sporadic bouts of heavy rain. The floodwaters kept rising especially in low lying areas, causing the government to turn off the electricity in several places as a safety precaution—this made the job harder for search and rescue teams who now had to rely on flashlights to navigate and local people stuck on rooftops.
The scale of this disaster is very large. Almost every district out of the 26 are affected.
Now, many organizations and individuals are mobilizing to collect and distribute dry rations, drinking water, bedding, and other essentials.
One of our partners, National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), has swung into disaster response mode. The organization has a procedure called Equipping Churches for Disaster Preparedness (ECDP) where key leaders are trained as first responders in case of a disaster like these floods and landslides. While stockpiling dry rations everywhere is not practically possible, they are trained to initiate and coordinate such efforts, and are able to provide accurate need assessments.
Please keep praying for safety and restoration of Sri Lanka and pray that God will lift us up in this time of disaster and hardship. Pray that we can assist in rebuilding businesses and communities to help Sri Lankans get themselves back on their feet.