Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Floods May 2018

| Floods

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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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: 4 Jun - 14:18 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: 9 Aug - 12:58 from ReliefWeb

Description of the disaster

The southwest monsoon weather conditions caused rainfalls since 19 May 2018 in the southwest parts of the island. By 21 May, the precipitation triggered a flood and landslide situation in the country, which affected thousands of lives and livelihoods, as well as caused property damage. According to a 26 May situation update1 by the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) of Sri Lanka, 153,712 people in 19 districts were affected and 20 people killed due to heavy rains, strong winds, lightning and landslides. Some 19,519 families were also evacuated into 339 welfare centres. Puttalam, Gampaha, Ratnapura, Colombo, Kurunegala, Kalutara and Kegalle are amongst the worst affected districts. The DMC coordinated the national response efforts and reported the need for drinking water, wells and area cleaning, since water sources have been contaminated. The National Disaster Relief Service centre also released 44.15 million Sri Lankan rupees (approx. CHF 276,000 Swiss francs) for the response.

Summary of current response

Overview of Host National Society

The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society has a strong branch network in all the 25 districts of the country. It has over 500 volunteers and staff trained in disaster response, which include members in National Disaster Response Team (NDRT), Branch Disaster Response Teams (BDRT) and Divisional Disaster Response Teams (DDRT) that are available at national, district and divisional levelsSLRCS also has 150 trained disaster response team members specialized in water and safety and trained First Aid (FA) volunteers in all districts. Furthermore, SLRCS has a pool of 29 people trained in Cash Transfer Programmes (CTP), who are available for deployment to set-up and assist implementation of the CTP programmes.

Since the onset of the floods, the SLRCS has assisted approximately 15,000 flood-affected people. As the situation unfolded,SLRCS branches activated their BDRTs who supported the operations since 19 May. NDRT were on alert but were not mobilized as there was sufficient capacity to respond. Branch volunteers were involved in conducting the 24-hour and 72-hour assessments, distributing non-food items (NFI), such as standard hygiene pack (adult and baby), sleeping mats, lanterns, bedsheets, dry rations such as rice, lentils, sugar and biscuits, and conducting search and rescue operations. The National Society provided first aid services and took part in the coordination meetings with the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), DMC and international non-government organizations (INGOs). Over 300 staff and volunteers have been deployed from the SLRCS to support the relief intervention in the country.

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Photo: Amantha Perera