Heavy rains, floods and landslides. After last year, one could only hope that history doesn’t repeat itself. Sadly, it has. As of this moment, about 100 people have lost their lives and over 90 have gone missing. In total, approximately 200,000 have been affected. According to the Department of Meteorology, more showers/thundershowers are to be expected in the coming days. Fairly strong winds at times (up to 50-60 kmph) are also to be expected. Warnings have already been issued in a number of areas requesting people to evacuate with the rising water levels. But fortunately, flood relief efforts are already underway.
From the Armed Forces, to the many organizations and individuals, everybody is pitching in every way they can. But how can you help? We at ReadMe put together a list of emergency contact numbers and tech you can use to lend a helping hand.
For life saving support and other urgent assistance,
- 011 2674535 (Office of the Chief of Defence)
- 011 674502 (Sri Lanka Air Force)
- 117 Disaster Management Center Hotline
- 011 2136136 (Disaster Management Center)
- 011 2445368 (Navy HQ)
As per the current situation, the following list of supplies are much needed for the people in the affected areas.
- Water bottles
- Tea leaves
- Milk powder
- Toothbrushes and other sanitary items
- Bed sheets
Sri Lanka Flood Crisis Map
There’s currently a crowd sourced live map that includes support details , requests and access routes during flood relief efforts. The map is maintained and updated by volunteers. If you find any mistakes, updates or have questions, you can drop an email to email@example.com.
PickMe Flood Relief
If you or someone you know is affected by the floods and needs urgent attention, you can seek PickMe’s help. All you need to do is open up the app, select the relevant location and click on the SOS icon. This will allow PickMe to receive your request and will be forwarded to the Disaster Management Center.
Relief efforts from Takas and Kapruka
If you wish to make a donation towards the flood relief efforts, you can do so via Takas and Kapruka. Takas, in partnership with IMCD has opened up for online donations for flood victims. If you wish to donate via Takas, you can do so here. Meanwhile, Kapruka has also opened up for online donations towards the cause. To donate via Kapruka, click here.
Flood Relief facebook groups
There are a number of facebook groups that cater towards the coordination of flood relief efforts. We’ve listed 3 of the most active groups below. If you’ve got any supplies that needs to be delivered or want to join in the efforts as a volunteer, these groups would be a good place to start.
- The EPFS Community
- #DisasterReliefLka – Volunteers
- Flooding Sri Lanka 2017 Disaster Relief – Information Desk- Sri Lanka
Stay on alert with DEWN
You can actually stay on alert with regards to the current disaster situation with the Disaster and Emergency Warning Network (DEWN) app. Just download the app to your Android or iOS smartphone and you can get alerts directly from the Disaster Management Center. Additionally, if you’re on twitter, you could also follow @dmcdewn to get alerts.
Free credit from telcos
The telecommunication providers are also playing their part in flood relief efforts. Dialog offers a free Rs.100 reload to those in the affected areas of Ratnapura, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Dehiowita, Yatiyantota, Ruwanwella, Kolonnawa, Biyagama, Kelaniya, Kaduwela, Hanwella, Dompe and Padukka. Airtel is also offering free calls and SMS facilities to the people in the above affected areas. Mobitel has increased credit limit for postpaid connections by 50%, with prepaid connections getting free Rs.100 talk time and Rs.50 in credit limit(prepaid). Additionally, Hutch has provided free Rs.25 credit as well.
Helakuru. The one app pretty much everyone have when we want to use a sinhala keyboard on our phone. I say everyone because Helakuru now has over 2 million active subscribers for the app. The folks at Helakuru have been working on creating awareness among the people with regards to emergency disaster related information through Helakuru notifications. So, if you have Helakuru on your phone, chances are you’ll receive real time disaster related information as sinhala push notifications.
Need aerial drones? Champika can help
If any search & rescue teams out there require aerial drones to carry out relief efforts, Champika Wijeratne is willing to lend a hand. You can call him up on 077 4844639.
— Champika Wijerathne (@chamiyeah) May 26, 2017
Our own Flood Relief Management Database (FRMD)
You might remember our Flood Relief Management Database, or FRMD from last year’s flood relief efforts. This is where we built a database to better coordinate flood relief efforts. The database allowed anyone to view what supplies are needed and where one can drop these supplies off. We’ve reactivated the FRMD for this year as well. As such, we would need your help to keep it updated and accurate. So, if you don’t mind volunteering for a few hours per day, we’ll be happy to get you on board for this. Just drop a comment below or feel free to call me up on 07733 48217.
This is an open source project that aims to support volunteers in the field. Similar to our FRMD, this too is a database run by a group of volunteers. This database keeps track of two things. The first is what items are needed, what organizations are collecting these items, and how you can reach them to donate items. The second thing the database keeps track of is who has been offering financial donations and where they are from. You can help keep the database updated by either submitting new data on the website itself or dropping a message to their messenger bot. You can also help out these volunteers with their tech by forking the GitHub repo and submitting a pull request.
So there you have it.
These are some of the tech you can use to help out. If you want to know more about how and where to help, do check out Yamu’s article as well. In case you’re thinking of going broke trying to buy supplies, it’s probably a good idea to make a few calls and coordinate to ensure you get exactly what’s needed. We only hope the weather conditions get better really soon. Until then, stay safe. The above list is based from what we’ve observed on the digital space. If you think we missed anything, feel free to let us know in the comments below.