September 20, 2017

The flood and landslide situation has created a lasting impact on the lives of those who were affected by the disaster situation. Most of them waited for a long period of time to rebuild their houses and lives following the emergency situation that sent them fleeing for their lives. As daily paid labourers or menial workers, they had no mode of income until the flood waters receded and until their employers had also begun their economic activities. Without the daily income that they receive and without adequate savings to pay for the repairs to their damaged houses and to replace their children’s educational material which had washed off in the floods, it is the poorest households that were worst affected by this disaster situation. They had to depend on loans provided by businessman who sought to make a profit off their misfortune. Their first earnings after the disasters were towards repaying the loans and the bitter interest. With great financial difficulties, the victims of the floods and landslides have also become victims of poverty and dire circumstances.

 

In a bid to help households affected by these natural disasters return to normalcy, the Alliance Development Trust (ADT) reached out to disadvantaged communities in Ratnapura. The ADT distributed packs of dry rations and non-food relief items including bed sheets, electric lamps and mosquito nets among 50 families in the Idamgoda, Niriella, Millawetiya, Rillana, Farm Garden and Angamana areas. Most of the beneficiaries were daily paid labourers, tea pluckers and rubber tappers who earn a meagerly income or those who are dependent on the generosity of their relatives to get by.

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Pushparani does not receive much help from her children. As long as her husband was alive, he looked after her every need as best as he could, until he passed away nearly 13 years ago. Even after his death, Pushparani supported herself by working on the Farm Garden rubber estate until a heart attack prevented her from engaging in any heavy work. Even though her neighbours live in the estate’s line-houses, Pushparani lives in a little shack detached from these houses. Approximately 7×4 feet in size, this little shack was constructed with tin sheet for the roof and mud and wattle walls. Adding to her plight, this little shack which Pushparani calls home collapsed under the pressure of the heavy downpour and floods. On her own, she tied together the tin sheets that she salvaged from the roof and tried to construct the walls of her home with a variety of material including old plywood sheets, an old carpet, a signboard, a piece of foil and sticks that she picked from the estate. “My children don’t care for me” blurted Pushparani, trying her best to sound indifferent. “I survive on anything that comes my way and with the help of a dole fund which gives me 250 rupees monthly. I am very happy to receive this relief pack” she exclaimed. “I cannot even express my gratitude!”

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