Since late 2016, Sri Lanka has been experiencing a lack of rainfall which has developed into what is believed to be the worst drought in 40 years, with significant impacts on the economic activity, livelihoods and lives of communities. As of 19 September, (0900hrs, UTC+5.30), 1,927,069 people were estimated to be affected by the drought across 17 districts, according to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC).
Since late 2016, Sri Lanka has been experiencing a lack of rainfall which has developed into what is believed to be the worst drought in 40 years. Across the country, 20 out of 25 districts have been affected with significant impacts on the economic activity, livelihoods and lives of communities. Despite the recent onset of the Southwest monsoon in late May, which triggered flooding and landslides in the country’s southwest provinces, country-wide drought conditions are ongoing.
As communities displaced by flooding and landslides in Sri Lanka’s southwest return home, their needs must be addressed in the immediate and longer-term. Initial Government estimates indicate that priority areas include the implementation of disaster mitigation and prevention programmes, the reconstruction of housing, roads and schools, and the renovation of electricity and water networks. It is vital that immediate humanitarian needs are addressed, whilst ensuring that Disaster Risk Reduction measures inform the recovery of these communities.
Current warnings from the DMC and Meteorology Department advise of strong winds expected across the island for the next 24 hours, with some showers in flood and landslide affected areas. While average rainfall is beginning to decrease, landslide watch warnings remain in effect due to forecasted showers for areas in Ratnapura, Kegalle, Galle, Kalutara, Matara, Hambantota and Nuwara Eliya districts.
As of 8 June (1200hrs, UTC+5:30), an estimated 603,000 people are affected in 12 districts. A total of 212 deaths have been confirmed and 78 people remain missing. Over 3,000 houses have been destroyed and 20,285 are partially damaged.
DMC also reported a significant decrease in the number of people in safe locations. About 14,655 people remain temporarily displaced in 159 safe locations compared to 72,000 people inside safe locations last week.
According to the latest Department of Meteorology forecast, the western and eastern coastal areas of Sri Lanka, including districts severely affected by the floods and landslides, will receive below average rainfall in the month of June.
While average rainfall is beginning to decrease, landslide warnings are in effect for Ratnapura, Kalutara, Galle, Kegalle, Matara, Nuwara Eliya and Hambantota districts.
As of 1 June (18:00, UTC+5:30), about 658,490 people across 15 districts have been affected by floods and landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains which began last week. Of the affected people, it is estimated that at least 150,000 are women and girls of reproductive age, 7,600 are pregnant women and over 189,000 children are affected by the disaster.
The Government has confirmed 206 deaths, 92 people remain missing and 68,730 people are temporarily displaced to 365 safe locations.
On 30 May, national disaster management officials reported that water levels are beginning to recede along the major river basins. With less rainfall over the past 24 hours, local authorities with the support from the Sri Lanka Armed Forces and civil society are making progress in clearing roads, facilitating additional relief distributions. Access to remote villages remains a significant challenge.