Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Floods May 2018

| Flood

Sri Lanka
| Asia

Overview of the situation

On the morning of Sunday, the 20th of May 2018, with the provinces of Ratnapura, Kurunegala, Gampaha and Puttalam in particular (in total 19 provinces) being affected, Sri Lanka was flooded due to the onset of heavy monsoon rains. According to the situation update by the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) of Sri Lanka, as of 1200 hours on the 27th of May 2018, over 166,228 people (43,604 families) in 20 districts have been affected. As per the Report, 23 people have died, 13 have been injured and 1 person has been reported missing as a result of the heavy rains. More than 19,519 families have been evacuated into 339 welfare centres in 8 districts including the districts of Puttalam, Kegalle, Kalutara, Ratnapura, Gampaha and Colombo.

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05 Jun 17:00
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08 Jun 10:00
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Key figures

Government, humanitarian and private sector actors are coordinating action on the ground to provide support and deliver aid to the people in need. Here the reported damage. 


People killed


People injured


Families evacuated


Last updated: 12 Oct - 14:08 from ReliefWeb


Early monsoon rains caused flooding and landslides affecting nearly 46,000 families and killing 24 people. The worst affected provinces are Southern, Western, North-Western and Sabaragamuwa. There is no request for international assistance.


A tropical storm made landfall on the coast of Rakhine State on 29-30 May, bringing strong winds and heavy rains to nine states and regions in Myanmar. Three people were killed and almost 200 houses were damaged in Rakhine State. In Yangon region, two people were injured and more than 750 houses and other buildings were damaged. Local organizations and the Government’s Department of Disaster Management (DDM) provided assistance including food, construction materials and cash to affected families in both areas.

Armed clashes between the Myanmar Military and the Arakan Army (AA) in Paletwa Township,
Chin State, displaced approximately 70 people in recent weeks, bringing the total number of newly displaced to some 480 people since November 2017. Local organizations and the DDM have provided food, clothes, tarpaulins and cash assistance to newly displaced people sheltering in make-shift tents in Zin Buang Pyin village in Paletwa. Humanitarian organizations are currently conducting a rapid assessment of needs in the affected area.


Flash floods in Takhar Province last week affected around 700 people, according to initial reports.
In Bamyan and Daykundi provinces, snowfall has destroyed crops and orchards in areas already experiencing reduced harvests due to ongoing drought. While in Helmand Province, 150,000 heads of livestock have died, and the water table has significantly dropped in nine districts, due to the drought.


Between 22 - 30 May 2018, 503 refugees living in camps in Cox’s Bazar and at risk of landslides or floods, were relocated to safer areas. More than 660 people were affected by weather-related incidents including landslides during the same period. To date, over 25,000 people have been relocated within the camps either to safer areas, or to facilitate construction and improvement works.5


On 1 June, Mount Merapi erupted three times spewing ash approximately 6,000 metres into the air. The volcanic ash was reportedly moving to the north-northwest and southeast-south of the volcano, and thin ash rain was reported in the northern part of Sleman District. An estimated 200 people in Glagaharjo village (Sleman District) temporarily left their homes, but have now returned. In Boyolali District 500 people were evacuated to a temporary IDP centre. A three kilometre “no-activity” zone remains in place

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Situation Report

Last updated: 22 Oct - 01:37 from ReliefWeb


Description of the disaster

In May 2017, the activation of South-West Monsoon weather conditions caused heavy rainfalls in the South-Eastern parts of the island. This triggered a major flood and landslide situation in the country, affecting thousands of lives, livelihoods and damages to properties. Disaster Management Centre (DMC) confirmed that 15 districts were affected due the heavy rains, strong winds and landslides. Matara, Kalutara, Galle, Ratnapura, Gampaha and Colombo are amongst the severely affected districts.

Intensity of the floods increased due to release of water from small and medium reservoirs, which rose the water levels of rivers and water streams and caused heavy influx of flash floods. Reaching the affected people were difficult due to the prevailing high-water levels and landslides in access roads. Power cuts in highly affected areas caused limited telecommunication access to affected people and relief workers as well. Roads (including the national highways) were inundated in many places causing heavy traffic congestions across the affected areas, destructing the transportation of goods and services.

According to DMC, as of second week of June 2017, at least 658,490 people (153,852 families) were affected, 213 people died, 79 people were missing, 150 were injured by floods and landslide. A total of 185 camps were established with about 4,736 families sheltered temporarily. At least 2,788 houses were fully destroyed, and 18,417 houses were partially damaged by the disaster. The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) declared a ‘state of natural disaster situation’ and appealed internationally to support the response and rehabilitation efforts.

Summary of current response

Overview of Host National Society

Since the onset of the floods, SLRCS was in the forefront providing assistance to the affected people. As the situation unfolded, SLRCS branches activated their branch disaster response teams (BDRTs) which supported the operations since 25 May 2017. Three National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) members were deployed to branches. Furthermore, branch volunteers were involved in conducting both 24-hour and 72-hour assessments, distribution of nonfood items (NRI), dry food and dry rations, search and rescue operations, provision of first aid, and coordination meetings with the GoSL, DMC and international non-government organizations (INGO’s).

The following activities were conducted in the initial relief phase; first aid services, medical camps, well disinfection, hygiene promotion, house cleaning, distribution of non-food items (NFI), and Restoring Family Links (RFL).

After the initial relief phase, the focus of activities moved to early recovery/recovery phase, in the four most affected districts (Kalutara, Ratnapura, Galle and Matara). The areas in Gampaha and Colombo being affected to a lesser degree, people have returned to normal living situation.

Under the early recovery/recovery plan, the following activities were conducted: unconditional cash grant of LKR 10,000 (CHF 69) was provided to 800 people and LKR 50,000 (CHF 345) was provided to assist 400 families to assist with their livelihood. In addition, in order to enhance National Societies preparedness, trainings were conducted for volunteers and staff.

A Shelter Coordination team composed of three staff (coordinator, Information Management (IM) and national staff IM coordinator) was deployed until 30 November 2017. The team provided coordination services in support of the Sri Lanka government for the shelter sector and assessed the local context for defining an adequate sectoral response.

A number of surge personnel were deployed to support the operation. As such, a FACT Cash Transfer Programming (CTP) delegate from British Red Cross was deployed for a one-month period, a RDRT Operations Surge Support from New Zealand Red Cross was deployed for three months and a Senior Officer was deployed by the Delhi IFRC Country Cluster Support Team (CCST) for three weeks.

Upon successful completion of the planned activities while funding remained, mainly due to savings made because of exchange fluctuations (rupee depreciation) in the country, the operational timeframe was first extended until 31 July 2018 and later until 31 December 2018. This latest timeframe revision will ensure the operation focuses on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) aspects as well as National Society capacity building.

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Photo: Amantha Perera