Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Floods and Landslides Emergency Plan of Action Final Report (MDRLK005)



Description of the disaster

In May 2016, Sri Lanka was hit by a tropical depression in the Bay of Bengal that affected 22 out of 25 districts in the country. It destroyed homes and submerged entire villages, triggered floods and a series of landslides that affected thousands of lives and livelihoods, and caused widespread property damages. The worst affected districts were Colombo, Gampaha, Kegalle, Kurunegala and Puttlam. A total of 104 people reported dead, 99 people missing due to the landslide in Aranayake, Kegalle district, and more than 428,000 people from around 105,360 families were affected. Some 4,000 houses were damaged and 600 more were totally destroyed. Thousands of people moved to temporary camps to seek shelter. The Government of Sri Lanka declared a ‘state of nature disaster situation’ and requested international appeal to support the response and rehabilitation efforts.

Summary of response

Overview of Host National Society

Since the on-set of the disaster, SLRCS was in the forefront assisting the most vulnerable. As the situation unfolded, SLRCS branches activated their branch disaster response teams (BDRTs). Furthermore, SLRCS conducted assessments, distributed non-food items (NFI), dry rations, provided search and rescue, provision of first aid, and participated in the coordination meetings with the Government of Sri Lanka, DMC and international non-government organizations (INGO’s).

SLRCS also provided additional relief efforts such as food distribution and addition NFI with bilateral support from ICRC, PNS and external partnerships outside the scope of this emergency appeal. The Government assigned four camps to the SLRCS to manage in Kegalle – namely Pallepamunuwa and Narangammana in Aranayake DS division and Thunbage and Kalupahanawatta in Bulathkohupitiya DS division. SLRCS provided first aid services at the camps through mobile clinics and water and sanitation support together with other partners. Two National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) members were deployed to Kegalle to support Kegalle branch with its response. Well cleaning programme, medical camps and house cleaning, and disinfection activities were conducted in all the affected districts.

Upon completion of the relief phase, the operation moved into recovery phase, with a focus on livelihoods support. Implementation of the recovery shelter component was removed from the appeal, which earlier was put on hold due to the lack of funds and that whereby affected families can apply for conditional grants for purchasing land provided by the Government of Sri Lanka and constructing houses. Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programme was implemented in five communities. Potential risks were identified together with the community through Vulnerability Capacity Assessment (VCA). Trainings such as BDRT training, boat riding and camp management were also conducted to enhance SLRCS capacity. SLRCS revised its initial health and Water Sanitation Hygiene promotion (WASH) plan deprioritising construction of latrines. The new programme focused on Community Based Health and First Aid (CBHFA) and Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) which was implemented in three districts. Furthermore, a Health Disaster Risk Reduction programme with a focus on dengue prevention was implemented. On Cash Transfer Programming (CTP), one training and a pilot project to field test the learning were conducted to enhance SLRCS capacity.

Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) allocation of CHF 249,443 was made on 21 May 2016 to enable SLRCS to respond to the humanitarian needs of people affected by the floods and landslides. The initial emergency appeal which sought CHF 3,622,689 was launched on 24 May 2016. It was later revised to CHF 1,604,185 on 24 November 2017, and the timeframe was extended by four months till 31 March 2018. The following table summarizes the activities completed by November 2017.