Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Extreme Weather - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA), DREF No. MDRLK015


Glide n°: LS-2022-000283-LKA

A. Situation analysis

The Southwest monsoon activation has been intensifying rainfall in Sri Lanka from 1 to 8 August 2022, where the Northern, Central, Western, Southern and Sabaragamuwa provinces of Sri Lanka have been affected. Most damages were reported on 6 August, particularly in Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Rathnapura districts due to heavy rains, high winds, floods and landslides.

According to the Department of Meteorology, massive rainfall of 243mm was reported in the Northern sub-district, the Nuwara Eliya, Nawalapitiya and Delthota sub-districts in the Kandy district (Central Province), where several landslides and rock falls damaged houses and blocked roads and railway line. Rainfall over 100mm was observed in the Rathnapura district (Sabaragamuwa province), and the districts of Kandy and Nuwara-Eliya (Central Province). Five deaths were reported while three people have been missing. Rescue teams were working around the clock despite heavy rains to recover the missing bodies.

The continuous heavy rains coupled with high winds over 50 km/hr have caused landslides, road embankment failures/cutting failures, floods, rock fall and fallen trees across various districts: Nuwara Eliya, Kandy and Matale (Central Province); Galle, Hambantota and Matara districts (Southern Province); Rathnapura and Kegalle districts (Sabaragamuwa Province); and Gampaha district (Western Province). Due to the severity of the situation, agricultural lands and standing crops were also damaged in low lying areas due to flooding while infrastructure and housing damages have also been reported.

According to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) situation report, as of 8 August 2022, over 15,000 people (4,000 families) have been affected across ten districts. Further, several landslides, rock falls, and collapse of retaining walls have been reported in the Nuwara Eliya and Kandy districts blocking the rail line and main roads at several places. A number of houses were affected due to flooding in Nuwara Eliya district. Fooding was also reported in the Rathnapura district, cutting off access roads at several places where people were stranded or had to wait until water levels recede. The DMC is coordinating the national response efforts.

Due to heavy rain, the existing water and sanitation facilities in the communities are affected and inundated, including the sewerage lines. Due to the impact of landslides, people living in low-lying areas have also lost their basic amenities at the household level. Initial reports from DMC and Divisional Secretariats reveal that there is a need for essential household items and there are challenges as transportation of goods to affected areas is disrupted due to road blockages as well as fuel shortages. In addition, households will require support to cover their immediate basic needs as the local employment opportunities have been reduced due to continuous rain and exacerbated by the current economic crisis that is continuously affecting the households’ economic condition. Overflow of water from several major dams in the central hills was reported, threatening downstream communities with the risk of flooding. The Department of irrigation has been monitoring the situation and as the heavy rains stopped on 8 August, currently there is no risk of downstream flooding.

Moreover, the Ministry of Health has been working on controlling the COVID-19 impacts within the country. Since the beginning of the epidemic, approximately 667,385 confirmed cases were identified, and 16,603 deaths were reported. Across Sri Lanka, up to 66.84 per cent of the population has been vaccinated1. For specific details on vaccinations and the latest COVID-19 information, please refer to the Ministry of Health epidemiology unit’s situational report dated 11 August 2022.