In response to the severe flooding brought on by monsoonal rains in southwestern parts of Sri Lanka, John Keells Foundation (JKF) together with Group businesses mobilized its staff and resources towards the provision of immediate relief aid to affected communities. John Keells staff worked tirelessly on 27th and 28th of May, to dispatch relief aid such as bottled drinking water, cooked food, dry rations and medical items to the areas affected.
Towards supporting the resettlement of persons, JKF has also undertaken a well cleaning initiative in Galle and Kalutara Districts in collaboration with Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) and Group businesses in the affected areas.Since the initiation of the well cleaning programme, more than 780 wells have been cleaned in Galle and Kalutara Districts, benefitting a total of 7,479 persons. JKF and SLRCS also distributed school requirements including books, stationery items and school bags, to an estimated 1,000 school children affected by the floods in Galle, Kalutara and Matara.
Below are some relief efforts conducted by Group businesses with coordination support and funding from John Keells Foundation:
Tea Smallholder Factories - assisting persons affected by the floods in Neluwa, Kurupanawa,Karawita, Hingalgoda and Halwitigala (Galle District), providing housing within the factory for Kurupanawa employees and distributing dry rations to affected community members and employees in Kurupanawa, Halvitigala and Hingalgoda whilst in Neluwa cooked food was distributed to affected persons.Community members were also assisted in resettlement via cleaning of 15 houses and 175 wells in Kurupanawa, Hingalgoda, and Karawita.
JayKay Marketing Services (operator of ‘Keells Super’ Supermarket chain) - purchased dry rations, medicines, bed sheets, pillows and sleeping mats worth over Rs. 1 million for an estimated 1,000 persons affected in Ratnapura. Whilst collection points were set up at each Keells Super outlet for the public to donate dry rations and sanitary items which was was matched on a ‘1 to 1’ basis. Through these collections, Keells Super has collected over 300 dry rations packs from customers, valued at approximately 1 million rupees and matched these contributions with an additional 1 million worth of dry rations. An estimated 600 families were given dry ration packs from Atthudawa West and Atthudawa East in Matara District
Ceylon Cold Stores - distributed over 9,000 water bottles to affected persons in Matara and Hambantota while 75 lunch packets were given to persons affected in Ranala, Batewala
Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts -donated linen including bed sheets, pillows and towels, totaling over 4,400 items to affected persons in Kalutara, Kurupanawa, Hingalgoda and Nagoda
Union Assurance - encouraged its branch staff islandwide to volunteer for relief efforts, by providing them two days’ paid leave while a staff collection was organised whereby proceeds were used to donate dry rations to affected persons in Matara.
(Sirasa Shakthi John Keells Sahana Yathra 2016)
In response to the large number of men, women and children whom have been severely affected by the recent floods in Sri Lanka, the John Keells Group committed a substantial monetary contribution towards immediate flood relief through the Sirasa Shakthi John Keells Sahana Yathra. In addition, John Keells Group volunteers were mobilized to assist in sorting and packing the relief items, with a plan of deploying approximately 100,000 packs of dry rations to affected areas. Areas were finalized in discussion with the Disaster Management Centre including Kilinochchi, Aranayaka (Kegalle District), Wennapuwa (Puttalam District), Gampaha and Kolonnawa and Kaduwela (Colombo District).
The first convoy of relief consignments left the Maharaja group collection centre down Darley Road earlier this morning ( 20th May 2016). Sorting and packing of more relief items are underway today. The separate John Keells business units have also been involved in collecting dry rations and other essential relief items. We are heartened by the numerous queries and offers of assistance received from our staff, with more than 200+ volunteers working tirelessly, past midnight on sorting and packing relief items. Meanwhile Group businesses in the affected areas will also support the distribution of relief items.
John Keells Foundation will continue to monitor the situation, and assess the needs, to provide relief in the short term as well as to assist affected persons in the resettlement process.