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Meethotamulla Disaster - How You Can Help

The Meethotamulla garbage disaster situation, supplies needed, and how to help.

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Army efforts at the site continue. Photograph taken from defense.lk.

While most of Colombo is on vacation for Avurudu, a garbage mountain collapse in Meethotamulla has killed many and left many more displaced. According to the BBC,

The 300ft-high (91m) pile of rotting debris had shifted after floods and a fire then collapsed on Friday.

At least 40 homes on the edge of the dump were destroyed, with four children aged between 11 and 15 killed.

There had been concerns over the safety of the site in Colombo, with residents demanding it be cleared.

The official death toll is currently at 26, though word is that it may rise, as rescue efforts have been sluggish given the volatile state of the landfill.

How can you help?

  • Contact the Disaster Management Center directly on 011 213 6136 and they will inform you on what the current progress is and what is necessary.

  • You can also contact the Kindness Collective, who are coordinating with the DMC, and have set up collection points at Anim8 in Thimbirigasyaya and Virtusa in Dematagoda.

For Anim8, call or SMS Jessica on 077 243 1831

For Virtusa, call 0114605500

Whatever or however you donate, please try and coordinate it with people on the ground and don't go to the site yourself. 

What do they need?

There has been a steady supply of water from well-wishers, but there is an urgent need of:

  • Oxypura Masks
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Peduru (Mats)
  • Ladies' Undergarments (Bras) (Only New)
  • Sarongs (Only New)
  • Towels
  • Lactogen
  • Baby Diapers
  • Pillows
  • Mosquito Nets
  • Milk Powder
  • Water Dispensers or filters (about 2 only)
  • Cups/Plates (reusable and non-ceramic)

Photo from the Kindness Collective at the Anim8 collection spot.

Please be mindful that this is an environmental issue, so please try and minimize plastic packaging when preparing your donations.

The DMC has set up a camp at a nearby school, Terrence N De Silva Maha Vidyalaya, and a little over 100 people have been registered. More camps will be set up as necessary over the next few days. Please note that site visits are not encouraged nor helpful, neither at the camps nor at the disaster site.

How did this happen?

Aerial photo from the Sri Lanka Airforce site.

Pointing fingers is not the most productive activity at the moment, but helping is our collective responsibility right now. You can read more about the Meethotamulla dump and the people that live there via Roar's excellent photo essay. After you do, please donate and include those affected in your thoughts and prayers this New Year.

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