The State Minister of Public Enterprise Development announced on Thursday, June 1, that the death toll of the recent flooding and mudslides has risen to around 300 people. According to the minister, the government believes that the 95 people who are still missing are dead. Almost 630,000 people have been affected by the flooding, resulting in over 1500 homes being destroyed and 7700 homes being damaged.
The tropical depression affecting Sri Lanka since May 24 evolved into Cyclone Mora on May 29, which made landfall in Bangladesh on May 30. Shortly after landfall the districts of Ratnapura and Kalutara were the worst affected. Aid organizations have also warned that the survivors are at a high risk of diseases such as dengue fever. According to Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health reported that as of May 24, 52,015 cases of dengue fever had been reported in the country since the beginning of the year; over the same period in 2016, just over 19,000 cases were reported.
The southwest monsoon typically affects Sri Lanka in May and June. The Department of Meteorology issued a warning on May 27, stating that the southwest monsoon had established itself over the country, and warning naval and fishing communities to be vigilant. This year's torrential rains have been the worst in 14 years.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease mostly found in urban and semi-urban areas. Symptoms of classic dengue fever include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, nausea, and rash. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) is a potentially deadly complication that is characterized by high fever, enlargement of the liver, and hemorrhaging. No specific treatment or vaccine is currently available. Be aware that aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen) should be avoided as these drugs may worsen bleeding issues associated with the disease. Patients may be given doses of acetaminophen (paracetamol).
Individuals present in affected regions are advised to follow instructions issued by local authorities, particularly evacuation orders, and to keep abreast of weather forecasts. Remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous; 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult. Because floodwater may also contain wastewater or chemical products, wear boots and try to avoid any contact with the water; all items having come into contact with the water should be washed and disinfected and foodstuffs disposed of.
To minimize the risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases, use insect repellent, wear covering clothing, and consider sleeping under mosquito netting if in high-risk areas. If you develop a high fever during or after travel in areas affected by dengue, seek immediate medical attention.