Sri Lanka flooding crisis deepens

Emergencies, Media Releases, News article written on the 10 Feb 2011

International agency Oxfam today said that the disaster in Sri Lanka was deepening as a result of a second wave of flooding in the country. One million people in Sri Lanka have already been affected by the first wave of flooding.

“These fresh floods could not have occurred at a worse time,” said Thusitha Siriwardana, Oxfam’s Campaign Manager in Sri Lanka.

“The situation is alarming as people who recently returned to their homes after last month’s flooding have been forced to flee again. Needs are immense and the affected population is being exposed to fresh dangers after the latest round of flooding.”

The recent floods have been widespread affecting 18 districts in the Eastern, Northern, Central and North-Central Provinces. More than a million people have been affected in the new flooding and over 320,000 have been forced into temporary shelters. Damage to houses, roads and farmlands has further intensified. Many areas are still inaccessible making it difficult to conduct rescue and relief operations and to assess the extent of damage.

“The situation is critical. In addition to the massive humanitarian needs there are long-term concerns regarding food security. The floods are likely to destroy more than 90 per cent of the paddy cultivation in the affected districts,” said Siriwardana.

Oxfam has already been supporting 120,000 people in the Eastern and North-Central Provinces with basic items including food and water. The agency is also responding to the latest wave of flooding, reaching affected populations with cooked food, water, tarpaulins and hygiene items. In addition, Oxfam has been providing rescue support.

Oxfam has been supporting projects and partners in Sri Lanka since 1968. The agency’s focus in the country is on women’s economic and political leadership, livelihoods and economic development, and humanitarian assistance and protection.

To help support the people and communities affected by the Sri Lanka floods, Oxfam Australia has launched a Sri Lanka Floods Appeal. To donate to Oxfam’s appeal, visit or call 1800 034 034.

For further media information, or interviews with staff on the ground in Sri Lanka, please contact Oxfam Australia media coordinator Chee Chee Leung on +61 3 9289 9415.