Sri Lanka – 1 Dead, Hundreds Displaced After Rain Triggers Floods and Landslides

Severe weather including strong winds, lightning and heavy rain has affected parts of Sri Lanka since 29 May 2022. As of 02 June, one person had died, over 600 were evacuated and 20,000 affected.

Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Center (DMC) reported one person died as a result of the severe weather in Rathnapura district, where a total of 3,426 people have been affected, 57 displaced and 74 homes damaged.

Other affected districts included Kegalle, Kandy, Kalutara, Gampaha (11,425 people affected), Colombo (7,023 people affected and 633 displaced) and Matara. A total of 22,338 people were affected, 690 displaced and 174 homes damaged.

In response to flooding in Ratnapura and Kalutara districts, the Sri Lanka Navy deployed 13 relief teams in flood-risk areas in from 01 June 2022, to provide relief to the flood victims and help with evacuations. More recently areas of Galle District have seen flooding, with Navy teams deplayed to Thawalama, Hiniduma, Nagoda and Mapalagama.

According to Sri Lanka’s Department of Meteorology, in a 24 hour period from 30 to 31 May, Yakkalamulla in Galle recorded 192 mm of rain;
Megahathenna in Kalutara 132 mm; and Kiridiwela in Gampaha 130.5 mm. In 24 hours to 01 June, 130.4 mm of rain fell in Warakapola.

The country also saw a period of severe weather from 13 to 17 Nay 2022, affecting some of the same areas. As of 16 May, DMC reported 7,337 people affected and 203 homes damaged. Eight evacuation centres were set up in Rathnapura division, housing 209 people as of 16 May. As much as 190 mm of rain was recorded in Madampe in 24 hours to 15 May.

The severe weather comes at a time of economic and political crisis in the country. People are battling acute shortages of essential goods including fuel and medicines after the Sri Lankan currency depreciated while inflation hit record highs. Some people have taken to the streets to protest. Sri Lanka police fired tear gas shells and water cannons on 28 May to disperse thousands of students demonstrating outside the President’s office in Colombo demanding resignation of the country’s President.

Featured photo: Sri Lanka flood evacuations 01 June 2022. Photo: Sri Lanka Navy