Deadly floods strike Sri Lanka

Note: The team in Sri Lanka has not yet shared an image from the current floods. This is a stock image from June 2016 flooding  in the country.

Torrential downpours and flash floods in southwest Sri Lanka over the weekend claimed at least 169 lives. More than half a million people are affected, and 75,000 people have lost their homes and possessions. Handicap International’s emergency response experts and the local team in Sri Lanka are evaluating ways to help.

Severe floods and mudslides have also left families searching​ for more than 110 people. The death toll is likely to rise, and hundreds of thousands of people need emergency assistance.

Handicap International has worked in Sri Lanka since 2003. Teams responded with financial and housing assistance when floods hit in November 2015, and again following Cyclone Roanu in May 2016.

Anne-Lyse Coutin, Project Officer for Sri Lanka explains how some of the same areas hit in the 2015 and 2016 disasters have been badly hit again. “It looks as though the impact may be even worse,” she says. “It’s devastating for everyone involved.”

In addition to people’s immediate needs for survival, Handicap International is particularly concerned about the medium-term recovery in these communities. “The floods come after a serious drought and widespread crop failure. People are now facing three consecutive failed seasons, impacting their food security, livelihood and overall resilience.”

Our emergency response experts and the team in Sri Lanka will determine how best to respond to the people who are most in need.

Spokesperson available on request: Matteo Caprotti, Country Director for Sri Lanka (French, English, Italian)