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14 January 2011

Sri Lanka Crisis Expands

The fiasco in Sri Lanka is getting worse. It all started during the last week of December when copious amounts of precipitation began falling on the eastern side of Sri Lanka during the winter monsoon. The crisis began building slowly displacing people in the east, and to a lesser extent the north. That means this is disproportionately affecting the minorities in Sri Lanka, primarily the Tamils.

The lower panel of the above image shows that rainfall has been at, or above average, every day for the last month. The top panel shows that over the last month rainfall has been nearly 4 times the normal. This has lead to the slow spread of areas dealing with the flooding. Beginning this week, the rate of rainfall accelerated, and now more than 1 million people are displaced. That number is likely to rise as more rain is expected over the next week. Landslides have cut off access to remote parts of the island, which may well exacerbate the number of fatalities and injuries. If you want to look for some good news about the crisis, it seems possible that this could help the reconsiliation process between the government and the Tamil minority.

*Picture from the Christian Science Monitor

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