Sri Lanka: Cyclone Preliminary Appeal No. 36/00

The Disaster

Cyclone 04B swept across central Sri Lanka on Tuesday December 26 bringing 48 hours of heavy rains and winds gusting up to 120 km per hour. The cyclone hit land on the eastern coast in a 150 km wide band from Tirukkovil to Trincomalee. The cyclone moved north west leaving Sri Lanka’s western coast between Mannar and Puttalam on Wednesday 27 December.

The Sri Lanka Red Cross have received reports from Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Puttalam, Manmar, Polonaruwa and Amparai districts indicating 42,000 families affected, many with their houses destroyed in the cyclone or by floods. Tidal surges swept 100 metres inland on the eastern coast causing severe damage to many villages.

With electricity and telecommunications severely disrupted in many areas it is expected the number of those affected by the cyclone will rise as reports come in from other districts. The cyclone lost intensity as it moved south west across the southern tip of Tamil Nadu state in India. There are presently no details of any significant damage there.

The following is the provisional Sri Lanka Red Cross assessment of the number and location of affected families:

  • Trincomalee District - total 10,800 families: Trinco Town 3,000; Kushchaweli 1,300; Muttur 2,000; Seruwila 1,000; Morawewa 500; Thmbalagamuwa 800; Kantale 1,200; Ichchalampattu 1,000.
  • Batticaloa District - 6,000 families: Vakarai, Oddamavadi, Erravulpattu, Valachchenai and Mannumani north D/S division.
  • Puttalam District - total 800 families: Puttalam 500; Kalpitiya 300.
  • Mannar District - total 700 families: Mannar 300; Manatoiu 100; Moseli 50; Mannar Madu 250.
  • Polonaruwa District - total 9,710 families: Medirigirya 4,000; Hingurakgoda 4,000; Lankapura 1,000; Thamankaduwa 250; Elahera 200; Dimbulagala 260.
  • Ampara District - total 20,516 families: Tirukkovil 4,992; Alayadiwembu 3,900; Akkaraipattu 6,895; Addidalachchena 3,525; Kalmunai 1,20

Red Cross/Red Crescent Action

CHF 100,000 has been released from the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on Tuesday 27 December to support the immediate disaster response action by the Sri Lanka Red Cross. The Sri Lanka Red Cross chapters are distributing available goods from their disaster preparedness stocks while continuing to assess the damage caused by the cyclone. The ICRC is undertaking an assessment starting today and has provided the Sri Lanka Red Cross with tarpaulins.

While the government is distributing food in most districts the Sri Lanka Red Cross has identified the principle non-food relief items to be roofing materials, mats, kerosene lamps, blankets, kitchen utensils and clothing. The DREF funding will be used immediately to start procurement of the key items that are not available from the Sri Lanka Red Cross stocks.

The Sri Lanka Red Cross has requested immediate support from the Federation to respond to this emergency by providing immediate assistance to a minimum of 10,000 of the worst affected people. This plan and budget will be revised as more details from field assessments become available, and it is anticipated that the appeal budget will increase in the coming days.

The Federation is sending a senior disaster management officer today to support the Sri Lanka Red Cross and coordinate with the ICRC on this operation.


Due to the continuous heavy rain the immediate need is to provide roofing materials for the preparation of temporary shelter or the repair of damaged roofs. For the displaced there is an immediate need for mats, lamps, blankets, kitchen utensils and clothing. Please refer to the attached preliminary budget for further details.

Didier J. Cherpitel
Secretary General

Jean Ayoub
Disaster Management and Coordination Division

This and other reports on Federation operations are available on the Federation’s website: