SRI LANKA EASTER ATTACKS
On 21 April 2019, nine suicide bombers carried out a series of attacks on three churches, three luxury hotels, a guest house and residential area across Sri Lanka. 258 people were killed and approximately 500 injured.
- Arranged secure ground transportation
- Diplomatic representation for those who left their passports in their hotels
- Flight arrangements
- Situational updates and travel security advice
- Referral to preferred medical providers
- Close monitoring of medical conditions
- Medical evacuation and repatriation of mortal remains
- Emotional / psychological support through telephonic means and onsite face-to-face sessions
One International SOS member was deteoriating quickly from a serious spinal cord trauma and bleeding in her back. As the country had limited medical resources, we swiftly assisted with the receiving care logistical arrangements. By the next day, she was evacuated under close medical supervision.
Many of our members also sought our security team's help to arrange secure transport, so that they could continue to travel safely and with minimal inconvenience within Colombo and other urban centres.
Within 20 minutes of the first indication of attack - Issue of special advisory, our data-mining tools and comprehensive ground networks enabled us to publish verified and corroborated alerts to our members within 20 minutes of the first indication of attack. We followed up with continuous updates throughout the day, highlighting the additional attacks and the response of the authorities, including road blocks, curfews and travel restrictions.
A Crisis Management Team was established in our regional Assistance Centre in Singapore, to manage incoming intelligence and coordinate support to clients and members.
Eight hours later, our Incident Management Team arrived in Colombo to provide on the ground situational updates and assessment of the security risks and medical capabilities, which further enhanced our support for affected clients and members.
In the aftermath of the crisis, we continued to provide clients with security updates and advice through our Assistance Centres, Assistance App alerts and emails, and webinars. Our Incident Management Team continued to be present in Colombo ten days after the bombings occurred.
As organisations awoke to the new reality of the risk environment in Sri Lanka, many sought our help to provide more detailed assessments on the longer term implications of the attacks, and to provide the most effective risk mitigation strategies. Such strategies included; developing journey management plans, identifying suitable accommodation and implementing methods to track and communicate with employees while they are travelling for work.
We supported 200 cases in 10 days.