EU Steps Up Assistance to Victims of Tropical Storm Roanu in Sri Lanka

The European Commission is providing a further € 500 000 (LKR 81 640 000) in humanitarian funding to Sri Lanka to bring emergency assistance to communities affected by Tropical Storm Roanu, which wreaked havoc across large parts of the country last month.

“This contribution from the EU will allow our partners on the ground to provide relief to the most-affected families. This will help them make it through this hard time and get them back on the path to rebuilding their lives as quickly as possible”, said Paul Godfrey, the EU Chargé d’affaires for Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Tropical Storm Roanu made landfall in Sri Lanka in mid-May, leaving a trail of destruction in 22 of the country’s 25 districts. The tropical system and its subsequent impact have, according to the Sri Lankan Disaster Management Centre, thus far severely affected close to 281 000 people and caused damage to nearly 6 000 houses, more than 700 of which were completely destroyed. The EU-funded actions will focus on three of the hardest hit districts, namely Colombo, Kegalle and Gampaha.

The additional funding is being made available as part of a larger regional allocation of € 2.5 million for Tropical Storm Roanu, which also covers Bangladesh. The aid will focus on providing targeted assistance to meet the most pressing needs, which include access to clean water, sanitation facilities and good hygiene practices, the provision of non-food relief items, as well as food and livelihood assistance.


Heavy rain influenced by a low pressure system which began on 15 May 2016, resulted in widespread flooding and deadly landslides in 22 of total 25 districts Sri Lanka The island nation experienced the highest reported rainfall since 2005 as a result of the storm, with some areas receiving as much as 300mm of rain in 24 hours. 89 people were killed, while thousands were forced to flee their homes to seek shelter elsewhere.

As an immediate response to the Roanu-triggered loss and devastation, the Commission last month provided € 200 000 to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to implement life-saving humanitarian activities in some of the worst-hit districts. Besides deploying a humanitarian expert from the Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) in the country to participate in the needs assessments, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was also activated following the request for international assistance by the Government of Sri Lanka on 19th May. Thanks to this mechanism, which pools the EU Member States capacities, Denmark dispatched water purification units to Anuradhapura district in order to provide clean drinking water.