Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Floods and landslides - Emergency Plan of Action Final Report (Operation 2017) (MDRLK006)



Description of the disaster

In May 2017, the activation of South-West Monsoon weather conditions caused heavy rainfalls in the South-Eastern parts of the island. This triggered a major flood and landslide situation in the country, affecting thousands of lives, livelihoods and damages to properties. Disaster Management Centre (DMC) confirmed that 15 districts were affected due the heavy rains, strong winds and landslides. Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Kalutara, Matara and Rathnapura are amongst the severely affected districts.

Intensity of the floods increased due to release of water from small and medium reservoirs, which rose the water levels of rivers and water streams and caused heavy influx of flash floods. Reaching the affected people were difficult due to the high-water levels and landslides in access roads. Power cuts in highly affected areas caused limited telecommunication access to affected people and relief workers as well. Roads (including the national highways) were inundated in many places causing heavy traffic congestions across the affected areas, destructing the transportation of goods and services.

According to DMC, as of second week of June 2017, total of 658,490 people (153,852 families) were affected, 213 people died, 79 people were missing, 150 were injured by floods and landslides. A total of 185 camps were established with about 4,736 families sheltered temporarily. At least 2,788 houses were fully destroyed, and 18,417 houses were partially damaged by the disaster. The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) declared a ‘state of natural disaster situation’ and appealed internationally to support the response and rehabilitation efforts.