Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Disaster Management Reference Handbook (December 2017)

Manual and Guideline
Originally published


Executive Summary

Sri Lanka is a lower middle-income country with an estimated total population of 21.2 million people. For decades the country was fraught with civil war, which ended in 2009. The civil war affected the national economy, foreign trade and investments, and the livelihoods of the Sri Lankan people. The end of the civil war in 2009 brought about legislative commitment to reconstruction and economic growth. This has allowed the economy to grow, an average of 6.2 percent annually. Since 2009, Sri Lanka has observed many elections and changes in leadership. Sri Lanka is still rebuilding as human rights grievances over war crimes and violations remain unsettled. The Government of Sri Lanka is concentrating on passing constitutional and economic reforms, advancing public financial administration, expanding public and private investments, addressing infrastructure restrictions, enhancing government effectiveness, and directing governmental service distribution.

Recently, Sri Lanka has been impacted by multiple natural disasters. Sri Lanka experienced a landslide in October 2014, and flooding in December 2014. Sri Lanka withstood the worst drought conditions witnessed in four decades in 2016; the extreme drought conditions extended into 2017 and produced substantial economic and social effects. The drought was responsible for an increase in national poverty levels, due to reduced cultivation income, especially for rural farmers. Estimates suggest over 500,000 families were affected by the drought conditions in 20 districts, forcing the Government of Sri Lanka to initiate relief programs. In May 2016, Sri Lanka was hit by a tropical storm that caused widespread flooding and subsequent landslides. One year later, in May 2017, Sri Lanka experienced continuous rains causing flash floods and extreme devastation. However, despite natural disasters and challenges posed by a complex political environment, Sri Lanka’s financial performance remained largely satisfactory in the first half of 2017. Sri Lanka has mainly remained an agricultural nation. Rice, tea, rubber, and coconut are significant cultivated crops in Sri Lanka. Cocoa and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, pepper, and cloves are notable crops.

Sri Lanka also produces fruit and vegetables, native to the region. In addition, Sri Lanka is a key exporter of precious and semi-precious stones. However, food insecurity has been increased among many communities in drought affected regions. Some regions in Sri Lanka have reached alarming levels of poor or borderline food consumption. The total amount of rice cultivated this year (2017) is less than half of that produced in 2016. In response, the government has been providing drinking water, relief packs of dry rations and other household items, and international assistance has included rice and cash assistance. The Sri Lankan economy is transitioning from rural-based industries to manufacturing and urban-based business. In September 2017, the Government of Sri Lanka introduced the Vision 2025 to advance democratic reforms, wide-ranging and equitable development, and to ensure good governance. The Government of Sri Lanka has focused on and made substantial advancements in human development. Current social markers rank amongst the highest in the South Asia region and compete favorably with other middle-income nations. National poverty has declined from 15.3 percent in 2007 to 6.7 percent in 2013. Sri Lanka’s economy is propelled by private expenditure and investments and is estimated to increase by 4.6 percent in 2017 and slightly exceed 5.0 percent in the mediumterm. The Government of Sri Lanka is dedicated to fulfill a reform plan intended at advancing competitiveness, governance, and public financial management which would realize long-term benefits.