On 25 and 26 May, incessant heavy rainfall brought by the southwest monsoon triggered flooding and landslides in 15 of the 25 districts of Sri Lanka. As of 31 May (18:00, UTC+5:30), about 630,000 people have been affected. It is estimated that at least 150,000 are women and girls of reproductive age and over 189,000 children are affected by the disaster. National authorities confirmed 203 deaths and 96 people missing. The floods and landslides destroyed or damaged more than 9,000 houses and temporarily displaced 73,560 people to 354 locations. Aerial surveys and satellite imagery confirmed that Galle, Kalutara, Matara and Rathnapura are the worst-hit districts. Given the widespread devastation, on 26 May, the Government of Sri Lanka made an initial request for international support in search and rescue operations. The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) immediately responded to the request and mobilized available in-country relief supplies for distribution.
The Government initially identified water and non-food items (NFIs) as priorities based on previous emergencies. With access gradually being restored, field teams from UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and the International Federation of the Red Cross confirmed that emergency shelter, NFIs, water, sanitation and hygiene, and health services are key immediate needs in the worst-affected divisions in Galle, Kalutara, Matara and Rathnapura. Ensuring that protection is mainstreamed across the sectoral responses is a priority, alongside education in emergencies since many schools are damaged or currently being used as safe locations. To complement the ongoing Government-led response, the HCT is seeking US$22.7 million to address the critical life-saving and protection needs of 374,000 people in seven districts from 1 June to 31 October 2017.