Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 03 | August 2014



  • Climate change and delayed monsoon has caused 20% loss of paddy harvest in the country during Maha 2013

  • Foot and Mouth Disease among livestock is rapidly spreading despite control measures by the Government

  • ERC approves over $2 million CERF funding to provide humanitarian assistance to drought-affected people in Sri Lanka

  • Heavy rainfall cause havoc in the southern Sri Lanka causing 27 deaths in June 2014

  • During last 10 years, 9 million people in Sri Lanka were affected by 23 floods with USD 1 billion economic loss

  • The Government and humanitarian partners successfully completed the field survey of the Joint Needs Assessment in early June.

Over 1.8 million Sri Lankans are affected by drought since 2013

Since 2011, erratic rainfall during the northeast monsoon characterized by flood/drought cycles has led to increased number of disaster-affected people in Sri Lanka’s Dry Zone. The communities living in these areas are already highly vulnerable and struggling to achieve basic living standards, and have little or no resilience in the face of a third successive climatic crisis.

In 2013 the northeast monsoon, which supplies water for the main rain-fed agriculture (Maha) season across the key paddy producing areas in the country was delayed and brought the lowest reported precipitation (less than 40 percent) during the last three years period leading to prolonged drought across many parts of the country (Source: Dept. of Meteorology Sri Lanka). As most households in the affected areas engage in small scale farming activities, their livelihoods are severely affected by destroyed or very poor crops, and many families report they have eaten the seed paddy they could have planted for the irrigated agriculture (Yala) season in 2014 due to continuous low level of food supply (source: joint mutli-sector rapid assessment). Sri Lanka’s staple food is rice and most of the rice consumed in country is produced in the above areas. By April 2014, the Department of Agriculture reported that lack of rain has damaged 83,746 hectares of paddy planted area resulting in an estimated production loss of 280,000 MT of rice (15 percent of forecasted production).

A multi-sector rapid assessment was conducted in April 2014 jointly by the humanitarian agencies and the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) in 15 worst drought affected districts to assess the impact and target assistance to the most vulnerable people. The assessment revealed that the current emergency is not an isolated event but rather the accumulation of impacts due to recurrent natural disasters over a period of three years. In 2012, a similar drought condition affected food security of over 360,000 people around the country with severe food insecurity in two districts in the Northern Province. In early 2013, over 430,000 people were affected in Northern and Eastern Provinces due to floods. In 2014, a total of 1.5 million people are affected, out of which, 768,000 people have been identified as food insecure with low coping capacity and 60,000 people are in urgent need of drinking water assistance. Over 765,000 people (50 percent) of the affected community were reported to use negative coping strategies such as limit meal portions, restrict adult meal consumptions and reduce number of meals taken in a day. This was particular high in the Northern, Uva and Eastern Provinces. By August 2014. The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) reported that over 1.8 million people are affected by drought and are in need of external assistance to recover from the emergency.


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