Projects Abroad volunteers respond to floods in Sri Lanka
Flood-affected community benefits from volunteer service work
TORONTO – July 12, 2017 – Projects Abroad volunteers answered the call to provide immediate relief to victims of the devastating floods that swept through Sri Lanka in late May. Heavy rainfall from monsoon weather conditions caused severe flooding and landslides, which left more than 600,000 people misplaced. Fortunately for Projects Abroad, the areas where their volunteering programs are placed were not affected, and as such their volunteers could come to the immediate aid of those in need.
After collecting supplies including water and medicine, Projects Abroad volunteers and staff in Sri Lanka travelled six hours to assist at a medical camp in Ratnapura, a community severely affected by the floods. Medical volunteers worked with local staff to conduct basic health checks, while volunteers on teaching and care placements supervised children whose parents were receiving medical treatment. By being present during this important time of crisis, parents could know that their children were in good hands while their medical needs were taken care of. Both young and old who had traumatic experiences during the devastating events could also receive psychological support from Project Abroad's volunteers. In total, about 350 people in the community of Ratnapura benefited from the free service provided to victims of the flood.
Projects Abroad staff member in Sri Lanka, Ligaya Basalo, says the presence of volunteers at the medical camp allowed procedures to run much more efficiently. "Due to the high number of people affected by these floods, every pair of hands that helped during this difficult time made a huge difference," she says. "Our volunteers were extremely dedicated to making sure that as many people as possible received the medical attention and care that they needed."
Responding to the Sri Lanka floods this year was not the first time Projects Abroad volunteers were called to action to come to the aid of those needing immediate relief. After the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015, their volunteers provided disaster relief in affected areas, by rebuilding schools that were destroyed.
As recovery after Sri Lanka's floods continues, so does Projects Abroad's influence in the country, with many volunteering projects in a wide variety of interests and areas of need, such as teaching, medicine, caring for children, sports, journalism, and veterinary sciences. Projects Abroad calls for volunteers to dedicate time to meaningfully impact communities and the environment in this developing country.