Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka - Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 7

Situation Report
Originally published
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2003/0093
OCHA Situation Report No. 7
Sri Lanka - Floods
occurred on 18 May 2003

1. This report is based on the Request for Assistance - Initial Assessment of Emergency and Rehabilitation Requirements launched by the Government of Sri Lanka. It can be found at ReliefWeb: Government of Sri Lanka: Request for assistance - Initial assessment of emergency and rehabilitation requirements

2. On 17-18 May 2003, torrential rains accompanied with heavy winds, led to the most serious flooding and landslides in South and South West of Sri Lanka since 1947. As many as 139,000 families were affected and 235 reportedly died. The worst affected areas were the five districts of Ratnapura, Kalutara, Galle, Matare and Hambantota.

3. OCHA, in consultation with the UN Resident Coordinator, deployed a five-member UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Team to Sri Lanka to assist the UN Resident Coordinator, the UN Country Team and the local authorities in assessing the flood situation and coordinating assistance. The team arrived in Colombo on 21 May and returned on 30 May.

4. WFP, UNICEF, WHO, UNHCR and UNDP began providing relief assistance immediately after the onset of the disaster to supplement the efforts of the Government, the IFRC and various local and international NGOs.

5. OCHA contributed two emergency grants: USD 50,000 from Norwegian pre-positioned emergency funds and EUR 100,000 from Italian pre-positioned emergency funds. In addition, OCHA issued seven Situation Reports.

6. The Government of Sri Lanka reacted quickly to the disaster and mounted a massive relief operation to assist the affected population. The immediate relief phase, with the exception of one district, is now phasing out as the water has dropped in most areas. Thus, the focus is changing from emergency relief to rehabilitation.

7. The Government of Sri Lanka's request, which was launched last Wednesday in Colombo, is seeking assistance in the areas of health, water and sanitation, relief for internally displaced persons, education, infrastructure repairs and improving the capacity of the country to deal with natural disasters.

8. Below is a summary, by sector, which covers all the severely flood affected districts in Sri Lanka. In addition to repairs to damaged schools there is an urgent need for schoolbooks, materials and uniforms (estimated costs LKR 1,000,000, approximately USD 10,000).

9. Summary of costs:

Est. Cost LKR
Cost in US$*
Health, Water and Sanitation
Relief for Internally Displaced Persons
Education (including 1 million Rs for books, materials and uniforms)
Infrastructure Rehabilitation
Disaster Management and Preparedness

* For ease of calculation purposes: LKR 100 = US$ 1

10. OCHA is prepared to serve as channel for cash contributions to be used for immediate relief assistance, in coordination/consultation with relevant organizations in the United Nations system. For banking details please contact the Desk Officers indicated below. OCHA provides donors with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.

11. For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform OCHA Geneva, as indicated below, on relief missions/pledges/contributions and their corresponding values by item.

12. This is the last report for this disaster unless there are unforeseen developments.

13. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:
Mr. Rudolf M=FCller/Mr. Klaus Quiding
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 31 31/17 69

Press contact:
(GVA) - Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) - Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-212-963 87 40

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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