An estimated 520,000 people across eight provinces (Eastern, North Central, North Western, Northern, Sabaragamuwa, Uva, Central and Western) remain affected by drought as of 13 October 2016. The Government has allocated US$140,000 and 159 water trucks to 22 districts. Some 60 schools have been closed due to water shortages, affecting 26,000 children. The Minister for Disaster Management will meet humanitarian partners to discuss the impact and plan their response on 21 October. (OCHA, 17 Oct 2016)
As of 7 November, more than 450,000 people across 17 districts remain affected by drought. A significant reduction compared with 800,000 affected people the week prior. According to the local Meteorological Department, rains are expected in the drought affected areas over the coming 10 days which should ease the drought conditions but also poses a risk of floods. (OCHA, 7 Nov 2016)
As of 17 January, an estimated 644,000 people across eight provinces have been affected by drought and salt water intrusion over the past four months. Batticaloa District in Eastern province is the worst affected with 302,000 people experiencing the effects of drought.
The Government has initiated water trucking in Batticaloa and taken measures to import additional rice in the event the prolonged drought has significant impact on food supplies. The President of Sri Lanka has established a Task Force to coordinate the response. (OCHA, 23 Jan 2017)
Parts of the country received heavy rains in late January, causing floods in some areas. This will temporarily alleviate water shortages for human and animal use in some areas, but the damage done to the Maha crop is irreversible and there is continued concern for the subsequent Yala season due to the still very low water levels in reservoirs (73 major reservoirs stand at only 28% of their capacity). Based on historical trends, the combined production of staple crops foreseen from the two 2017 harvests is expected to result in the worst rice production levels in the last 10 years. (WFP, 31 Jan 2017)
Even if rainfall is received in the early months of the year, Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector is unlikely to make a full recovery in 2017. With much of the poor households concentrated in the rural areas and dependent on agriculture for access to income, and local production representing the bulk of food sources in the country, livelihood opportunities and food insecurity are only likely to worsen among the most vulnerable. (ACAPS, 23 Feb 2017)
As of 3 March, an estimated 1.2 million people are affected by prolonged drought in 16 districts across Sri Lanka’s nine provinces. Kalutara District (Western Province) has the most people affected due to salinisation of the water supply. Harvests due in the coming months are expected to be significantly reduced, exacerbating food insecurity. The Government continues to distribute water in districts with low water supplies and will disburse cash payments to affected families. WASH, food security and nutrition, agricultural livelihoods and cash-for-work programmes have been identified as priority response activities. (OCHA, 6 Mar 2017)
As of 19 March, over one million people are affected by prolonged drought in 17 out of 25 districts of Sri Lanka. According to a joint household assessment, an estimated 900,000 people were identified as in urgent need of food assistance, with 25,000 people severely food insecure. Food, water and sanitation, health and agriculture are urgent priority needs. (OCHA, 20 Mar 2017)
Sri Lanka has been experiencing a drought in most of the country since the beginning of 2016. As of 21 February 899,235 people in Sri Lanka have been affect by drought, across nine provinces (Disaster Management Centre of Sri Lanka 21/02/2017).
The total cumulative rainfall has been below normal and erratic, despite extremely heavy rain during mid-May 2016. It is highly unlikely that the drought situation will improve before the inter-monsoon showers expected between late March and April 2017 (WFP/Government of Sri Lanka 14/01/2017).
Sri Lanka Government Prioritises Achieving Zero Hunger And Zero Undernutrition
COLOMBO – Concluding a three-day mission to Sri Lanka, the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, joined government, civil society, the private sector, academia and the UN community in the launch of the National Strategic Review on Food Security and Nutrition – Towards Zero Hunger. Cousin praised the efforts of the Government to place food and nutrition security at the core of the country’s development agenda.
Sri Lanka has been experiencing ongoing drought since the beginning of 2016. In recent months, approximately 1 million people have been affected across the country by the drought.