An island state in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is regularly affected by seasonal floods and landslides. In May 2016, Tropical Storm Roanu caused flooding and landslides in 22 out of 25 districts. Over 90 people were killed and damages and losses exceed $570 million.? In December 2018, over 75,000 people in the Northern Province were affected by flooding, while 156 houses were damaged. At least 9,455 people from five districts in northeast Sri Lanka were displaced because of the floods.? 

Less frequent but more severe hazards include cyclones, droughts, and tsunamis. In 2018, drought affected some 890,000 people in 17 districts, with Puttalam, Anuradhapura, Mannar, and Mullaitivu the worst affected.? 

At least 62,000 Sri Lanka refugees live in India’s Tamil Nadu state, although the figure could be as high as 100,000 people. In October 2018, some 4,000 of the refugees registered to return to Sri Lanka.? 

For 2019, INFORM rated Sri Lanka’s risk of humanitarian crisis as medium, at 3.6/10.?

Latest Developments

25/04: As of 25 April, the death toll from the attacks in Sri Lanka has risen to more than 350. Two local radical groups have been blamed for carrying out the bombings, possibly with support from the Islamic State. Members of Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority have reportedly been the target of mob violence in the days since the attacks, and several Muslim-owned houses and businesses have been destroyed. In Negombo, a town where close to 200 people were killed, hundreds of Pakistani refugees have fled fearing a escalation of intercommunal tensions.?

23/04:  More than 300 people were killed in Sri Lanka following a series of coordinated bomb attacks that targeted churches and hotels across the country on 21 April. Most of the victims were members of Sri Lanka’s Christian minority who were attending Easter Sunday mass. As a result of a new emergency law passed by the Sri Lankan government in the aftermath of the attacks, police have been granted the power to detain and interrogate suspects without court approval.?

Key figures

  • 890,000 people affected by drought in 2018  [?]
  • 75,000 people affected by floods in December 2018  [?]