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3 July 2016

LEADS completes 45 days of relief operation by the end of the month of June. During the operations carried out following the floods and landslides that took place in May, LEADS has reached a total of 6,181 families and  1660 children in 9 districts. Our efforts were supported largely by volunteers who unslefishly gave their time (and donated in kind). A special event was organized in recognition of their efforts on 2 July 2016 at LEADS head office.

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LEADS operations 14 Jun 2016

Towards the later part of the operation relief efforts were more focused on two worst hit districts, Colombo and Kegalle where extensive resotoration work was carried out to restore and improve people's lives. In this reagrd LEADS joined Oxafam to initiate a Cash for Work program in Kolonnawa DS division where an estimated 500,000 families were affected according to media reports. When the program concluded 522 people (mostly women) were helped with an income and relief supplies. The people worked in 9 schools that were affected during the floods and also, in several public locations including buddhist temples. These places were restored through their hard work, and their efforts were commended by the principals of the respective schoosl and other public diginitaries.

1660 children touched by education program

LEADS conducted children's educational programs in both Colombo and Kegalle districts reaching a total of 1660 with the important Child Protection message. The children varying from ages 4-18 years recieved hygiene packs and some recieved educational material as well. More than 350,000 families were affected in Aranayake. During emergency situation and when living in temporary shleter children do not get the same security as they do in their homes. Our programs attmpted to keep the children aware of possible threats to their safety and what they could do when faced with such a situation.

LEADS team worked in IDP camps in Aranayake for nearly a month and moved on to Bulathkohupitiya recently where they continue working with affected children. Some of these families taking shelter in camps were moved due to the fear of landslides and are waiting to hear from authorities whether they could go back to their homes or need to restart their lives in a safer location. Although children have by now started schooling life as they used to know has gone, as quickly as the torrents drove down the mountain sides. Parents say its difficult to plan what to do next. Our educational programs have been useful in giving the children atleast something small to look forward to - a ray of hope. 'As long as the need is there we will continue to work in these areas in Kegalle' says Sandya from LEADS team.


 

21 Jun 2016

Children's programme - in Kegalle

LEADS continue to work in Aranayake in Kegalle with around 35 children, aged 4-15 years during the last week. The children are now schooling as most schools have resumed educational sessions in that area. Our teams conducted programmes in the afternoon in two shelter camps in Dippitiya and Wilpola.

It’s hard to believe one month has passed since the devastating catastrophe (17 May 2016) - a first for most people living in Aranayaka. Their houses were smashed and the rushing flow of mud destroyed their fields as well as lthe livestock. Some people lost members of their family. It has been a terrible period of loss for the people. ‘There is not much hope for us, we have lost everything and is waiting to see how the government will assist’ said one woman in a shelter camp. Although some families have rented houses and moved out of the camps most displaced families have opted to stay under government protection so they could receive compensation.

Families are roughing-out with whatever space made available, and as many as 60-100 families occupy one shelter camp. Mothers have told our team that the children are waiting in anticipation for the programmes and they can be heard humming songs that have been memorized over the past 2 weeks.

In two locations LEADS teams have been conducting activity based programmes with the younger children targeting stress and trauma relief and providing a mode of relaxation. Through individual attention during these activities some distraught children have received comfort said the team members. And the parents are really grateful for the services provided. ‘Our children were frightened by the noise of the moving earth (during the earth slips) and they seem to wake up at night, disturbed’ said a mother, ‘the programmes have a positive effect on the children on reducing these signs’ she added.

With older children more creative tasks were carried out where during an activity based program on environmental protection the children walked within the premises collecting garbage and sorting them into bins marked according their bio-degradable composition. During the course of the week children had lessons on anger management, self-esteem and emotions. These special topics are expected to cover most issues arising from their recent traumatic experiences and the loss of family, friends and familiar surroundings.

Our teams return again this Tuesday, 21 June for another session of children's educational programmes. Among the group of 8-10 people were some keen volunteers who have been working with us right through out.

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A drama to educate children on how to react to emotions Paintings to express their feelings
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Drawing and craft adds an element of fun to activities Children get into action -collecton and sorting of garbage

 

Community drive to clean public spaces - in Kolonnawa

Through a seperate intervention done in Kolonnawa DS in Colombo, cleaning flood affected areas has reached the 3rd consecutive week. Our teams have reached new areas unreached by anyone else. Both Nagahamulla and Waddugoda are slum areas close to the municipality garbage dumps. The people there are neglected and secluded as they are occupying the properties illegally. Wadugoda is home to nearly a thousand families located along the water drainage canal system. During the flash floods dirty water rose 6 feet high says the occupants and damaged and destroyed the entire neighbourhood. Total of 35 people mostly women workers found through a local civil society group called Dirimaga have been working tirelessly to collect debris and pieces lying about and cleaned the public areas.

Simultaneous another neighborhood has come to live where more than 45 workers are engaged through the Cash-for-work programme. Especially the women have been actively participating as massive efforts are in place to make the surrounding hygienic for occupation. About 4 men got into the canals where the stagnant parts were cleared of blockages. LEADS has provided this task force and all other workers with necessary gear (gloves, boots and masks) as well as disinfectors and tools. At the end of the week the people are expected to receive their pays and relief supplies that includes household items. The community people claimed they enjoyed been part of the programme and was energized and activated at the same time. ‘When we returned fromthe  shelter camps we found our homes and pathways devastated, parts of the garbage had flowed in, oil from a neighbours garage has leaked and was strewn everywhere. The smell was incredibly over-powering’ explained a woman from the area. ‘We have achieved wonders here and we are proud to be part of the effort’ she added.

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Women workers rid enterire neighbourhood of dirt The flood turned a mess of everything in this slum area
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Cleaning public spaces Streets & pathways cleared

 

 

14 Jun 2016

Last week a blind community in Katana, Gampaha district was among the recipients of relief supplies and kitchen utensils. Men and women from a hundred families from Nayanaloka in Katana gathered in a community hall where the distribution took place on last Friday, 10 June. LEADS was responding to a request sent by the Sri Lanka Catholic Council for the Blind with assistance from Oxfam.

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Hundred families received relief supplies in Katana They were assisted by LEADS staff members and volunteers

 

Among those who helped us pack the food items  and NFRI supplies were a score of volunteers from the Theological College of Lanka. The 22 students also visited different locations in Kolonnawa in Colombo district where they joined in relief and restoration work carried out in schools and public spaces. Even through it was nearly 3 weeks after the devastating floods the volunteering students from Kandy were able to witness the damages to homes and public buildings and lend a helping hand to affected people.

 Our outreach for children is 1376

In Kegalle LEADS has established a small office from which a team from ESCAPE is carrying out programs to keep the children safe in shelter camps. News reports claimed over 11,000 children affected by floods and landslides in May are missing schooling. Our teams are reaching these students to keep them engaged and informed on coping with the situation. Three volunteers have joined our team in carrying out these progrmmes. During our outreach the children reeived useful educational materials and hygiene packs to help them make it through this difficult period.

 Our outreach is 5619 families

In the second stage of relief assistance LEADS is helping communities put schools and public spaces back in shape. So many places are needing attention and lacking in man-power to clean-up. The Cash-for Work project done in partnership with Oxfam has now spread to new areas of Kolonnawa. The project  that has been running for 2 weeks has provided essential incomes to around 80 people who were among those affected by the floods. People who had worked on 6-day jobs received cash payment and relief supplies. The community people, especially the women were happy to recieve kitchen utensils that would replenish part of what they had lost. Many of the beneficiaries spoke with our staff about how satisfying and encouraging it has been to be part of this programme.

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Community people agreed to clean this public place
in Welawatte, Kolonnawa
And in Welampitiya people were getting paid for their efforts.
Each family recieved a relief pack consisting of kitchen utensils.
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Donation of kitchen utensils to women workers, at the
Gottetuwa temple (phototo by Devushan)
Benificiery woman on her last day of work (photo by Devushan)

 

 LEADS engaged in Relief Operations in 9 districts

On the Sri Lanka map LEADS has been working in 9 districts reaching out 5619 families and 1376 children.

LEADS operations 14 June 2016

8 June 2016

LEADS has joined hands with Oxfam in doing a Cash for Work project in Kolonnawa DS area. Kolonnawa was among the worst affected areas of Colombo district due to its close proximity to the Kelani river. People in the communities told us that their houses and children's schools were submerged under 8 feet of water when the river overflowed. Communities in Kotikawatta, Kotuvilla and Sedawatta have joined to give 500 man-hours of relief and restoration work through the project.

Several teams from LEADS were dispatched simultaneously to meet the needs of the community. Among the locations identified as needing assistance in cleaning were Gamini Maha Vidyala, Sidartha Vidyala and Rahula Vidyala. The Gottetuwa temple also got help in clean-up of the premises. A woman worker there said she joined the program when she heard that the workers were benifiting not only by cash but also were recieving kitchen utencils. We had water up to the ceiling in our homes, there was mud in the cups and plates, so we are grateful as women to recieve kitchenware'. Another community member said he was a daily wage worker who has no steady income. 'This is an opportunity for people like us to earn something for our families' he commented. Slowly the schools have started sessions as education must go on and, some of the students were seen coming in coloured-clothing.

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Mothers of school children cleaning classrooms
at Gamini Maha Vidyala, Kotuvilla

   The team at Sri Rahula Vidyala, Sedawatte
     
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Community women cleaning the temple    

 

LEADS distributed packs of school stationery and educational material to young children while conducting children's programmes on staying safe during emergency situations. Older students learned important lessons in Child Protection and prevention methods. The programs for the younger children included entertainment through action songs and story telling. These programs were conducted by experienced staff from ESCAPE, a department that has been doing child protection during the last decade.

31 May 2016

LEADS has operationalised relief work in 8 of the 21 districts affected by torrential rains and resulting floods and landslides. We have teams deployed in some of the worst affected areas such as Aranayake and Dehiovita in Kegalle district, Kolonnawa, Kaduwela in Colombo. Our teams have identified the actual needs at ground level by speaking with the DS officer and the families, they purchased goods to meet the specific and unmet needs of the displaced people.

Our outreach so far is 5112 families
LEADS is currently working in Colombo and Kegalle districts but has covered Ratnapura, Kandy, Kurunegala, Kilinochchi, Mulativu, Jaffna districts within 2 weaks. Relief varied from cooked meals and drinking water to families taking shelter in relief camps, donation of water tanks (15), one-week's supply of dry rations adequate for a family, hygienge packs that included toiletries, rubber slippers, towels, under garments and sanitary napkins as well as sleeping material like mats and bedsheets and detergents and cooking utencils.

LEADS plans on assisting affected people in cleaning up their homes and surrounding.

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Distribution of relief (dry rations and Hygiene) packs for the families in Kolonnawa DS, Colombo  
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Relief distributions in bulk to DS office, Kegalle Visiting people affected by landslides in Kegalle
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LEADS handed over 15 water tanks to
Mawanella &
Aranayake DS offices, Kegalle
Distribution of relief packs in Yatiyanthoda, Kegalle

 

  Our outreach for children is 716

LEADS cares for the children who were displaced from their homes. Our teams go to camps almost everyday to reach the affected children, conduct therapy sessions and distribute packs that contain toys, educational material and craft supplies. These children's programme are been carried out in two of the worst hit areas - Dehiovita in Kegalle and Kolonnawa in Colombo. According to our Psycologists the children are actually traumasticed by the disaster and the sessions are helping them loads to come into terms with the situation. These therapy packs given to children keep them happy and occupied she said

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LEADS staff was joined by volunteers to do a
Children's programme - Kolonnawa, Colombo
 
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Children having fun with out-door games
Important message on Child Protection given to
children
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Children's program done in Aranayake, Kegalle

 

The relief operations have by now reached several districts across the country. We had many people responding for relief by donating in cash and kind. LEADS was supported by over 400 volunteers to pack relief items. People worked around the clock to purchase, pack and distribute these relief goods. The following map sums up what LEADS has achieved in the past 14 days.

 

 LEADS engaged in Relief Operations in 8 districts

 

 LEADS operations 31 May 2016

 

24 May 2016

LEADS is carrying out child protection awareness programmes in shelter camps in Kolonnawa, Colombo.Thousands of families are staying in schools, temples and churches that are in safe higher grounds. Water levels are receding slowing since rains have subsided in most areas, however many families are finding it difficult to go back to their houses.

Disaster situations make children and women vulnerable as they are living out of the secured boundaries. Safety for children is paramount says the NCPA at a time of a national disaster. They are now circulating a brochure which gives useful informations to parents and adults. Protecting children is part of LEADS' mission so our teams have been sent to these shelters to engage children and adolescents in recreational activites through which they may learn on the importance of child protection and prevention of any form of child abuse.

 LEADS Special Children's Programmein Kolonnawa, Colombo 

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Little children below age 6 year doing action songs This program was done for little children in a camp in Kolonnawa
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Adolescents engrossed in the Child Protection program Adolescents recieved hygiene packs

 

23 May 2016

LEADS has by now suppoerted over 3500 families (taking a conservative count) by providing immediete relief items, drinking water, sanitary and hygiene items. The teams have gone to several locations to assess the needs arising from shelter camps and responded accordingly. When LEADS team visited Aranayake and Mawanella areas in Kegalle district they found that many supplies had already reached there. However there was a dire need for clean water and LEADS supplied 15 thousand liter water tanks with all accessories to the respective DS offices.

The following map gives a summary of LEADS oerations thus far...

LEADS operations update 23 May finalsm

 

21 May 2016

LEADS has assessed the situation in several affected areas for intensive relief work. The identified areas are 9 DS division including Eheliyagoda, Haldolla and Kuruvita in Ratnapura district, Aranayake and Dehoivita, in Kegalle district and Kolonnawa DS in Colombo district.

A 1500 packages of dry rations and 500 Hygiene packs were prepared. These relief packs are been ditributed at shleters in the three districts. Over a hundred volunteers have been assisting LEADS in our relief efforts.

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Distribution fo dry rations in Dehiovita, Kegalle  Hyegeine packs dristributed in Ratnapura
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LEADS handed over dry rations to the Dehiovita DS office Volunteers help sort and pack items
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LEADS staff and volunteers working tirelessly on relief Volunteers at work night & day keeping track of distribution of relief items

 

19 May 2016

In response to the current situation LEADS has initiated relief measures in Ratnapura, Kegalle, Kurunegla and Colombo districts. The origanization adheres to Sphere Standards in dispatching relief packs to families.

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