Colombo’s Population Severely Affected by Recent Flood

The final Consultation Workshop on ‘Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) for the Waste Management Sector in Sri Lanka: Opportunities for Linking the PILISARU Program with International Climate Financing’ was held on 30th August 2016 at Waters Edge Hotel, Battaramulla, Colombo from 9.00 a.m to 2.30 p.m. This workshop was jointly organized by the Central Environmental Authority under the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment and SEVANATHA Urban Resource Centre and it was funded by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

The main objective of this workshop was to present the findings of a study that was undertaken to assess the potentials of developing a NAMA for the waste sector to link with the PILISARU Solid Waste Management Program. This study was initiated in the mid of 2015 as a result of the initial consultation workshop held on 30th April 2015. The final consultation workshop created a platform for the practitioners, scholars, and professionals working in the field of waste management to have a dialogue on similar initiatives and on the findings of this study and to share their views on the way forward.

Around 45 participants attended this workshop including officials from Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, representatives from the Central Environment Authority, Climate Change Secretariat, Solid Waste Management Authority, National Solid Waste Management Support Centre, National Climate Fund, UNDP, Academia from related fields and several other participants from Sri Lanka. The main highlights of the workshop were the presentation on the findings of the NAMA study, the technical session at which 5 presentations were made on the recent developments on Sri Lanka’s solid waste management and climate change initiatives in other sectors enabling learning from each other’s experiences.

Heavy rainfall started since 14th May, 2016 continued till 22nd May across the country causing floods and landslides in many parts of Sri Lanka. According to the Metrology Department, 19 out of 25 districts were severely affected. Most severely affected districts are Colombo, Gampaha and Kegalle located in the Western part of Sri Lanka.

According to the latest estimate by the country’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC) over four hundred thousand people are displaced from their homes and living in transit accommodations including schools, temples and emergency camps. It was reported in media that over 500 houses were completely destroyed and 4,005 houses partially damaged.

The majority of flood-affected people are in Colombo and Gampaha districts. As a result of heavy rains, several major reservoirs overflowed and floodgates were opened to avoid a dam breach, causing flooding downstream. Areas downstream of two large rivers to the north and south of the capital city Colombo, the Kelani and the Kalu Ganga, remain flooded with the possibility of further floodwaters flowing from upstream areas should heavy rains persist.

Out of 47 Municipal Wards in Colombo Municipal area, 17 wards were badly affected by the flood these include; Mattakkuliya, Lunupokuna, Mahawatta, Blumenthal, Maligawaththa, Grandpass North, Grandpass South, Dematagoda, Wanathamulla, Borella North, Borella South, Suduwella, Panchikawaththa, Maradana, Kirula, Narahenpita and Wellawatta wards.

SEVANATHA in collaboration with Colombo Municipal Council and Common Wealth Foundation and Reall in UK, currently implement a project in selected low income settlements in the City of Colombo to improve basic infrastructure in these communities. Among the 80 settlements, 18 settlements shown in the map were severely affected by the flood, they are namely: 241 settlement in Borella, 93/97 settlement inMattakkuliya, 859 settlement in Mahawaththa, 75, Fugusion Road, Mahawatta, 637 settlement in AluthMawatha, 802/146 in Blumenthal, 94 Walls Lane, 64/43, Maradana, 21/R, Narahenpita, 300, 300/T, 300/8 settlements in Kirula, 124 settlement in Mahawatta, 211,169,151 settlements in Nagalagam Street and 63 settlement inWellawatta.

SEVANATHA has already established links with Community Development Council leaders in affected settlements for providing required assistance. Most families in these settlements suffered due to losing their daily income and their household items. The communities are expecting assistance to recover their livelihoods and improve their houses. Most urgently needed items for the affected families are: household furniture, kitchen utensils and cloths. And also the school going children have lost their school uniforms, books, and other stationeries and they are expecting support and assistance to recover from this situation.

SEVANATHA is currently engaging in a dialog with affected communities and the relevant stakeholders to engage in a long-term program for rebuilding communities and assisting them with housing and livelihoods.

We look forward to join hands with those organizations who wish to be part of this effort. For more details please contact; or

Flood at Nagalagam Street on 16th May 2016

In Wellampitiya, Colombo

In Wellampitiya, Colombo