Sri Lanka: Floods and Landslides - May 2021

Disaster description

Heavy rain caused flooding and landslides in Western, Central and Southern Provinces of Sri Lanka, resulting in casualties. According to Sri Lanka‘s Disaster Management Centre (DMC), three people died and one has been injured by flood events on 13-14 May. A landslide occurred in Kandy District on 13 May, resulting in two injured people. At least 44,153 people across the aforementioned Provinces have been affected, while up to 618 houses have been partially damaged. On 17-18 May, rain with thunderstorms is forecast over Central, Sabaragamuwa, Uva, Eastern and North-Central Provinces. (ECHO, 17 May 2021)

The southwest monsoon and activation of a depression which was later developed to tropical cyclone “Tauktae” over the southeast Arabian sea triggered heavy rainfall in Sri Lanka from 12 to 14 May 2021. Western, South and Sabaragamuawa provinces of Sri Lanka were worst affected. Sri Lanka’s Department of Meteorology has reported a maximum rainfall up to 336 millimeters in the Western province particularly in Kalutara district. During this period five deaths have been reported in Gampaha, Galle and Kegalle districts. Even though rain has stopped, the affected low-lying areas are still inundated with floods in the nine districts in five provinces and have caused damages to residential areas. Agricultural lands and standing crops have also been inundated and damaged as well as the infrastructures. Sri Lanka Metrological department predicts heavy rainfall on 22-25 May and the possibility of continuation of flooding, which may increase the impact and further exacerbate the situation with further reduction of coping capacity of vulnerable households in the affected areas.According to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) situation report as of 17 May, 43,701people (11,247 families) have been affected across 9 districts, and 5 deaths were reported. In these districts, 16 houses are fully damaged, and 1,453 houses are partially damaged, and 166 facilities of small and medium enterprises have also been damaged. A total of 29 evacuation centres/Safety locations are activated and 377 families (1,658 people) are located in these centres. Eight road embankment failure incidents were reported from Kegalle District which caused two fatalities. The DMC is coordinating the national response efforts. Water sources of the area have been contaminated due to heavy rain and the overflow of sewerage pits/septic tanks are open to public water facilities. Therefore, DMC reveal that there is a need for drinking water, wells and area cleaning. (IFRC, 22 May 2021)

Due to activation of South-West monsoon winds, very heavy rains were received during 2 June to 5 June, and most parts of the South Western region received more than 300mm rainfall within 24 hours and maximum reported was 346mm in Dummalasooriya on 3 June (Puttalam district). As a result due to heavy rainfall, strong winds and few landslides a total of 245,212 people (60,674 families) got affected in 10 districts, since 2 May. Furthermore, 14 deaths were reported, and two persons suffered minor injuries while two persons were missing due to floods and cutting failures. A total amount of 15,658 people (3,520 families) have been highly impacted and evacuated to 72 safety centres set up to assist the displaced. Most of these safety centres are in the Colombo (32), Gampaha (16), Kalutara (10) and Ratnapura (10) districts. Some 3,397 of these displaced people are residing with relatives or friends houses. (DMC Sri Lanka, 6 Jun 2021)

Heavy rain and strong winds have been affecting parts of western Sri Lanka since 3 June, causing floods and landslides, which have resulted in casualties. According to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC), 17 people have died, five have been injured and two others are missing. More than 66 people have been rescued from flooded areas in Gampaha and Kalutara Districts (Western Province). In addition, about 271,110 individuals have been affected by floods and landslides events, whilst 26,806 people have been displaced to 6,177 evacuation centres. Damage has been reported to about 1,000 buildings. The International Disaster Charter for floods and flash floods was activated on 5 June. Early warnings for landslide events have been issued for Western and Sabaragamuwa (southern Sri Lanka) Provinces, while on 7-8 June, heavy rain is forecast over the same Provinces. (ECHO, 7 Jun 2021)

Heavy rain and strong winds continue to affect particularly western and south-western Sri Lanka, causing floods and landslides, which have resulted in an increased human impact. According to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC), 20 people have died and five individuals remain injured. The number of total affected people stands at 176,419 and up to 7,989 individuals have been displaced to either evacuation centres or relatives' houses across ten Districts of Sri Lanka. Damage has been reported to more than 1,100 buildings. On 9-10 June, heavy rain is forecast over Western, Sabaragamuwa (southern Sri Lanka) and North-western Provinces. (ECHO, 9 Jun 2021)

As of 11 June, floodwater receded considerably, about 90% the families have returned to either their own places or staying with host families. Since 98% houses are partially damaged people prefer to stay in their own places while working on repairs. (IFRC, 28 Jun 2021)

Heavy rain and strong winds have been affecting the Central Province of Sri Lanka, causing floods and resulting in casualties and damage. According to the Disaster Management Centre of Sri Lanka, one person died and another has been injured in Kandy District. In addition, 2,113 people have been affected and 122 houses damaged across the Districts of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. For the next 24 hours, moderate to heavy rain is expected over the affected Districts. (ECHO, 13 Jul 2021)

Severe weather, particularly strong winds, were reported across Western, Sabaragamuwa, and Southern Provinces of Sri Lanka, resulting in casualties. According to the Sri Lanka Disaster Management Center (DMC), four people have been injured, one is missing in Galle District (Southern Province) and up to 900 individuals have been affected. More than 200 houses and six buildings have been damaged or destroyed. (ECHO, 31 Aug 2021)

Affected Countries

Latest Updates

Maps and Infographics

Other disasters affecting the country