Updated: Sri Lanka – Major Floods and Landslides – Death Toll Rises to Over 100

Update 3 – 28 May 2017

According to the latest figures from Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC), flooding and landslides have left:

  • 442,299 people affected (114,124 families)
  • 146 dead (71 in Ratnapura, 43 in Kalutara, 14 in Matara, 8 in Galle, 5 in Hambantota, 3 in Gampaha, 2 in Kegalle)
  • 52 injured
  • 112 missing
  • 230 houses destroyed
  • 1,701 damaged
  • 101,638 people (24,603 families) in 319 displacement camps / safe locations

DMC say that the district of Nuwara Eliya has also now been affected, bringing the total number of affected districts to 15.

  • Nuwara Eliya
  • Trincomalee
  • Hambantota
  • Galle
  • Colombo
  • Kalutara
  • Gampaha
  • Batticaloa
  • Vavuniya
  • Mullaitivu / Mulaitivu
  • Matara
  • Ratnapura / Rathnapura
  • Kegalle
  • Matale
  • Kandy

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Update 2 – 27 May 2017

At least 100 people dead, 99 missing, 230,000 people affected, 27,054 displaced and 116 houses destroyed.

Fourteen districts have now been affected, including some in previously unaffected northern areas of the country.

A report by Sri Lanka Disaster Management Centre (DMC) of 27 May says that the death toll has now risen to 100, with a further 99 missing and 34 injured. As many as 47 of the deaths occurred in the districts of Rathnapura, 37 in Kalutara and 11 in Matara. Deaths were also reported in Kegalle, Hambantota and Gampaha.

Several rivers, including the Kalu, Kelani,Gin, Nilwala, Attanagalu Oya rhave overflowed causing major flooding. The heavy rain has also caused numerous landslides, particularly in the Kalutara area.

Over 230,000 people from 52,603 families have been affected by the current severe weather across 14 districts. Many of those affected (128,047) are in Galle district, where flooding has caused severe damage (71 houses destroyed, 163 damaged) but no deaths have as yet been reported in the district.

List of districts affected by flooding and landslides in Sri Lanka, May 2017, according to DMC reports (no particular order):

  • Trincomalee
  • Hambantota
  • Galle
  • Colombo
  • Kalutara
  • Gampaha
  • Batticaloa
  • Vavuniya
  • Mullaitivu / Mulaitivu
  • Matara
  • Ratnapura / Rathnapura
  • Kegalle
  • Matale
  • Kandy

DMC report that there are currently 27,054 people staying in around 119 safe shelters and camps set up by authorities.

116 houses have been completely destroyed – 71 of them in Galle district – and a further 749 severely damaged.

Update 1 – 26 May 2017

Heavy rain has continued for a second consecutive day in Sri Lanka. According to WMO figures, over 380 mm of rain has fallen in 24 hours in both Ratnapura (Rathnapura) and Diyatalawa.

Sri Lanka Disaster Management Centre (DMC) says that 25 flood or landslide related deaths have been reported, with a further 42 missing. At least 10 of the deaths occurred in Ratnapura, Sabaragamuwa Province. Nine people died in a landslide in Kalutara, Western province. Over 7,500 people have been affected by floods or landslides over the past 48 hours, says the DMC.

Authorities issued a major flood alert for Kelani and Kalu rivers during the early hours of 26 May. DMC said that people in high risk areas are advised to take adequate measures from the major flood. Districts affected include:

Kelani Ganga: Kolonnawa, Biyagama, Kelaniya, Kaduwala, Dompe, Hanwella, Padukka and Avissawella.

Kalu Ganga: Agalawatta, Bandaragama, Beruwala, Bulathsinhala, Dodangoda, Horana, Ingiriya, Kalutara, Madurawala, Mathugama, Millaniya, Palindanuwara, Panadura and Walallavita.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka Red Cross (SLRC) teams have been deployed to assist people who are stranded by flood waters in Ratnapura, Kalutara, Matara, Colombo and Galle, where 1,863 families are reported to be displaced.

Original article, 25 May 2017

Heavy monsoon rainfall has increased river levels in several areas of Sri Lanka over the last 2 days. The heavy rain has also increased landslide risk and warnings have been issued by authorities.

According to Sri Lanka Disaster Management Centre, flooding in Rathnapura and Elapatha has affected around 140 people, with around 80 people evacuated to safe locations in Rathnapura. Risk of landslide in Pelmadulla has forced around 20 from their homes.

Floods in Yakkalamulla, near Galle in Southern Province has affected around 40 people. Heavy rain in Moneragala, Ulva Province, has affected 42 people.

Fears of a Repeat of 2016

Sri Lanka saw some of the worst flooding in 25 years during May last year. Over 90 people died and thousands were displaced. A massive landslide struck in Aranayaka, in Kegalle District of Sabaragamuwa Province, on 18 May 2016. The landslide buried the homes of 220 families in the villages of Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitya.

2017 Monsoon Rainfall

Heavy rain has been reported in several areas of the country in the last 24 hours after the onset of the South West monsoon (see figures below). NASA measured high levels of rainfall in the region over the last few days. More rain is expected and the country’s Meteorological Department said some locations could see more than 150mm.

Rivers

Rising water levels have already been identified by Sri Lanka’s Irrigation Department in Kalu Ganga, Kelani Ganga, Gin Ganga and Nilwala Ganga and warnings have been issued for possible inundation of the low lying area along the Kalu, Kelani, Gin and Nilwala Rivers.

Landslides

The heavy rains have also increased the risk of landslides.

National Building Research Organization (NBRO) has issued an alert on possibility of landslides in Bulathkohupitiya, Dehiowita in Kegalle District, Baddegama, Yakkalamulla, Nagoda in Galle District, Elapatha, Pelmadulla, Kuruwita, Ehaliyagoda, Kiriella,Imbulpe,Ayagama and Kahawatta in Ratapura District.

NBRO warned:

“People living on steep slopes and near dangerous cut – slopes should be watchful. Always attention should be drawn to pre-landslide signs like slanting of trees or posts, cracks developing on ground and walls, and sudden appearance of muddy water coming out from the ground or from springs.

“People should move away from hazardous areas when they notice above signs. People living in the vulnerable areas (listed above) should be extra vigilant and should be ready to move into safe places if heavy rains continue.”

Featured photo: Floods in 2016. Credit: Sri Lanka Red Cross Society

Flood Summary

Last updated: June 7, 2017
Event
Sri Lanka, May to June 2017
Date
May 24, 2017
Type
Landslide, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall

Locations

A - Rathnapura
B - Elapatha
C - Pelmadulla
D - Yakkalamulla
E - Moneragala
F - Kalutara
G - Trincomalee
H - Hambantota
I - Galle
J - Gampaha
K - Batticaloa
L - Vavuniya
M - Mullaitivu
N - Matara
O - Matale
P - Kandy

Magnitude

River level
6.29 metres
Kalu Ganga at Ratnapura - May 25 to May 25, 2017
alert level is 5.2 metres
River level
4.83 metres
Kalu Ganga at Milakanda - May 25 to May 25, 2017
alert level is 3.5
River level
4.1 metres
Gin Ganga at Baddegama - May 25 to May 25, 2017
Alert level is 3.5
River level
3.96 metres
Nilwala Ganga at Pitabeddara - May 25 to May 25, 2017
Alert level is 3 m
River level
6.78 metres
Nilwala Ganga at Panadugama - May 25 to May 25, 2017
Alert level is 5 m
Rainfall level
133.1 mm in 24 hours
Ratnapura - May 24 to May 25, 2017
All rainfall figures from WMO
Rainfall level
162.9 mm in 24 hours
Galle - May 24 to May 25, 2017
Rainfall level
50.3 mm in 24 hours
Anuradhapura - May 24 to May 25, 2017
Rainfall level
64 mm in 24 hours
Maha Illuppallama - May 24 to May 25, 2017
Rainfall level
84.2 mm in 24 hours
Vavuniya - May 24 to May 25, 2017
Rainfall level
70 mm in 24 hours
Ratmalana - May 24 to May 25, 2017
Rainfall level
76 mm in 24 hours
Colombo - May 24 to May 25, 2017
Rainfall level
383.7 mm in 24 hours
Ratnapura - May 25 to May 26, 2017
Rainfall level
304 mm in 24 hours
Diyatalawa - May 25 to May 26, 2017
Rainfall level
79.9 mm in 24 hours
Hambantota - May 25 to May 26, 2017
Rainfall level
50.5 mm in 24 hours
Galle - May 25 to May 26, 2017
Rainfall level
51.1 mm in 24 hours
Nuwara Eliya - May 25 to May 26, 2017

Damages

Fatalities
212 people
May 25 to June 5, 2017
Buildings destroyed
2,313
May 25 to June 5, 2017
12,529 houses damaged
Evacuated
101,638
May 25 to May 28, 2017
24,603 families in 319 displacement camps / safe locations. As of 31 May this figure had fallen to approximately 73,561 people belonging to 19,019 families located at 354 safe locations. By 05 June the figure stood at 24,962 people in 226 displacement camps.
Injured
131 people
May 25 to June 5, 2017
Missing people
79 people
May 25 to June 5, 2017