Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Floods - Operation Update Report n° 1 (DREF n° MDRLK012)


Summary of major revisions made to emergency plan of action:

Southwest monsoon rainy season continued with low rainfall since the DREF allocation without significant impact after the initial flooding on 14-16 May 2021. However, the intensity of the rainfall increased on 3-5 June with over 300mm of rain in certain areas, which caused floods and landslides again in the same districts where the current DREF operation is ongoing, as well as three adjacent districts in the western and southwestern part of the country. Affected districts include Colombo, Gampaha, Kaluthara, Rathnapura, Puttlam, Kegalle and Nuwara Eliya.

In order to respond to the new flood situation spreading across a larger geographical area, the current DREF operation needed to be revised. This operation update informs the changes to the operational context, including additional geographical areas, change to the operational strategy, increase in the operational budget and extension of the implementation timeframe from 22 May 2021 to 31 October 2021. This revised operation seeks to reach 3,500 households (17,500 people) in six districts with Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA), household item distribution, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), Health interventions with an additional CHF 363,883 allocation.

In addition to the 1,500 households targeted in the initial response operation, another 2,000 households are included in the revised operation due to an increase in the affected population and expansion of the affected geographical areas. Therefore, the total number of households targeted in the five-month revised operation is 3,500.


12-14 May 2021
The onset of the southwest monsoon season in Sri Lanka coupled with tropical depression (later named tropical storm “Tauktae” in southeast Arabian sea) triggered heavy rainfall across western and southwestern parts of the country. Sri Lanka’s Department of Meteorology reported a maximum rainfall of up to 336mm in the Western province.

14-16 May 2021
Heavy rains and winds resulted in flooding in several districts with Colombo, Gampaha and Galle being the worst affected with high number of damages and displacements. A total of 43,493 people affected in all districts.

18 May 2021
SLRCS requested IFRC for DREF support to respond to the emergency and assist 1,500 families in the worst affected districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Galle.

22 May 2021
IFRC allocated CHF 135,615 to assist 1,500 families with Livelihoods and basic needs, WASH, Health and Care.

22 May- 1 June 2021
Rainy season continued with scattered low rainfall across West, South, Central and North western parts of the country without significant impact.

2-5 June 2021
Intensity of the rainfall increased which caused floods and landslides again in the same districts where the current DREF operation is ongoing, as well as three adjacent districts in the western and south western part of the country. Affected districts include; Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Rathnapura, Puttlam, Kegalle and Nuwara Eliya. According to the metrological department, highest rainfall of 331mm rain reported in the Kalutara district.

According to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) situation update on 5 June, 15 people died and two others were reported missing. The DMC and the local authorities in the respective districts are managing the safe shelters where displaced persons are evacuated (see under Non-RC actions). DMC has developed standards for safe shelters adopted from SPHERE standards, which also include PGI aspects. In addition, local organizations provided cooked food to displaced people in close coordination with the authorities. A total of 1,422 houses have been fully or partially damaged and 266,923 people belonging to 65,476 families were affected, and 2,221 families (26,841 people) were evacuated to 88 safe centres/evacuation shelters. The income sources of most vulnerable people have been affected due to floods and landslides, and further exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown in the country.

11 June 2021
Floodwater receded considerably and as of 11 June, about 90% the families have returned to either their own places or staying with host families. Since 98% houses are partially damaged people prefer to stay in their own places while working on repairs.