Sri Lanka: Responding to Cyclone Roanu


Cyclone Roanu, which hit Sri Lanka on May 15, caused severe flooding and landslides, killed more than 100 people, and affected 300,000 others. To storm displaced up to 21,000 people to temporary accommodations. Handicap International has joined forces with the government and other humanitarian actors to assess the situation and identify the needs of those most affected.

Strong winds damaged more than 5,000 homes and floods swamped entire villages. More than 21,000 people have been displaced and are currently living in temporary shelters.

“In urban districts, such as Colombo, the capital, the waste is piling up” says Matteo Caprotti, Handicap International Country Director in Sri Lanka. “We’re afraid there’s going to be a dengue epidemic[1]. The priority is to make sure those affected have access drinking water and hygiene services."

Flooding caused extensive damage to houses and farmland in rural districts. “We still don’t know exactly how much damage has been done, but we need to make sure people have enough food and can find ways to earn a livelihood. Some farmers have lost all of their clove trees, rice fields and tea plantations.”

Handicap International plans to work with the World Food Programme to ensure the most vulnerable individuals affected by the disaster can access food. This response will be implemented in four of the country’s worst-affected districts: Colombo, Kegalle, Ratnapura and Gampaha.


Photo: Handicap International assessed the villages in the Kegalle district, where flooding caused landsides. Some people lost their loved ones, and many lost their house and their livelihood (rice plantations, tea plantations, clove trees). People are living in camps.


(Note: republished on June 10 with updated details about our actions, and the needs in Sri Lanka)

[1] Viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes