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).
Anticipated scope and scale
The current drought is forecast to have a devastating impact on rice production. 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.
Priorities for humanitarian intervention
• Food security and livelihoods assistance is a priority due to prolonged crop damage and agricultural loss. Agriculture is an important source of both food and income.
• WASH is a concern, particularly water availability, as the level of reservoirs is significantly low.
Access in Northern and Eastern provinces may be hindered by landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination.
Poor quality of roads and extent of highway network may also present challenges to access.