Sri Lanka Flash Appeal Revision March 2011


The accumulation of heavy rains from December 2010 that caused devastating damage to districts throughout Eastern, Northern and North-Central Sri Lanka through mid-January 2011 was further exacerbated by heavy rainfall from 30 January 2011. The geographic coverage and magnitude of the second phase of floods were greater than in January with correspondingly heightened devastation. The intense pressure of waters released from already-full reservoirs caused serious damage to crops, essential tanks and irrigation channels, roads, infrastructure and housing. The incessant rainfall also triggered landslides in several areas of the island’s Central Province.

According to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) of the Ministry of Disaster Management (MoDM), over 1.1 million people were affected in the January floods, followed by 1.2 million in the February phase. A total of 62 deaths were reported for both disasters. Families that had recently returned and were trying to rebuild their lives face magnified challenges in meeting their essential needs and restoring livelihoods. The floods have increased vulnerabilities for recent returnees in the Northern Province, while those in the coastal Eastern Province were previously affected by the December 2004 tsunami.

The DMC coordinated the flood response from the onset in December 2010. On 10 January, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) officially requested United Nations (UN) relief assistance. The Presidential Task Force on Flood Relief was established to monitor and coordinate the flood response from 15 February 2011. The Task Force has prioritized the restoration of infrastructure, rebuilding of roads, tanks (including tank bunds and canals), as well as other irrigation schemes, and agricultural production damaged by floods. The GoSL is committing substantial resources to the flood response, with the UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) complementing the GoSL lead by covering gaps in assistance to the affected population.

Based on GoSL data and extensive multi-sectoral assessments conducted by UN and NGO partners, the flood- and landslide-affected districts require life-saving interventions for food, livelihoods, agriculture, water, sanitation and hygiene, and shelter. The timing and extent of the floods severely affected the critical 2011 Maha harvest season in January-February and threaten the April Yala planting season, with serious implications for agricultural production and livelihoods. There is an accompanying high risk of communicable disease outbreaks in the affected population especially amongst the most vulnerable. Communicable disease surveillance is an essential component of the response.

Following joint rapid assessments by the GoSL and UN partners, an initial Flash Appeal was launched on 18 January to mobilize $350.6 million for emergency response in the flood-affected districts. In support of GoSL planning, the Flash Appeal was revised to target the most immediate humanitarian needs and most vulnerable sections of the affected population, including children, women and families that have suffered livelihood devastation. This revised appeal covers humanitarian assistance planning through to June 2011. To support the GoSL, the international humanitarian community, including NGOs, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UN agencies, is seeking revised requirements of $44 million to address the immediate underfunded needs of approximately 1.2 million people affected by the floods and landslides in 18 districts from the Eastern, Northern and North-Central Provinces. Partners have indicated funding has been received of $17.9 million, leaving unmet requirements of $25.9 million for this Flash Appeal.

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