Sri Lanka

Climate change presents new challenges for displaced Sri Lankan residents

In the Eastern and Northern Regions of Sri Lanka, recurrent floods displace residents

As Sri Lanka enters the North East Monsoon period this month, ACTED is preparing to respond to the needs of displaced communities. Although Sri Lanka experiences flooding every year at this time, this year, due to the El Niño effect, rainfalls are expected to be more intense and to cause more flooding. Reservoirs are rapidly filling and rivers like Malwathu Oya and Yaan Ganga are expected to overflow repeatedly during the monsoon season.

ACTED is working in a consortium with Oxfam, Save the Children and Handicap International in coordination with the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) of Sri Lanka to respond to the recurring floods. The NGOs intend to respond to the flooding with shelter kits and conditional cash transfers to support livelihoods in the coming weeks. The consortium, supported by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), represents a unique opportunity to combine expertise in order to respond to the floods more efficiently and comprehensively and to address the needs of displaced persons.

In the coming months and years, Sri Lankan communities will have to deal with the consequences of climate change. Indeed, the most recent floods have been particularly intense, and in the future Sri Lanka is expected to face heavier rains, prolonged droughts, rising temperatures, changes in agricultural production, and submerged coastal areas.

Although the government is working to improve Early Warning Systems and ACTED is training government officials in disaster risk management, there are still many areas for improvement, particularly in the diversion of flood waters. In the meantime, ACTED continues to respond to the needs of displaced communities throughout this and every monsoon season.