European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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EU steps up assistance to victims of Tropical Storm Roanu in Sri Lanka

The European Commission immediately deployed a humanitarian expert to Sri Lanka to participate in the humanitarian needs assessment. © European Union/ECHO

The European Commission is providing €500 000 in humanitarian funding for emergency assistance to communities affected by Tropical Storm Roanu, which wreaked havoc across large parts of Sri Lanka last month.

"This contribution from the EU will allow our partners on the ground to provide relief to the most affected families. This will help them make it through this hard time and get them back on the path to rebuilding their lives as quickly as possible", said Paul Godfrey, the EU Chargé d'affaires for Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Tropical Storm Roanu made landfall in Sri Lanka in mid-May, leaving a trail of destruction in 22 of the country’s 25 districts. The tropical system and its subsequent impact have, according to the Sri Lankan Disaster Management Centre, thus far severely affected close to 281 000 people and caused damage to nearly 6 000 houses, more than 700 of which were completely destroyed. The EU-funded actions will focus on three of the hardest-hit districts, namely Colombo, Kegalle and Gampaha.

The funding is being made available as part of a larger regional allocation of €2.5 million for Tropical Storm Roanu, which also covers communities in Bangladesh.

The aid focuses on the most pressing needs, which include access to clean water, sanitation facilities and good hygiene practices, the provision of relief items, as well as food and livelihood assistance.


Heavy rain influenced by a low pressure system which began on 15 May 2016, resulted in widespread flooding and deadly landslides in Sri Lanka. The island nation experienced the highest reported rainfall since 2005 as a result of the storm. 89 people were killed, while thousands were forced to flee their homes to seek shelter elsewhere.

As an immediate response to the Roanu-triggered loss and devastation, the Commission last month provided €200 000 to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to implement life-saving humanitarian activities in some of the worst-hit districts.

Besides deploying a humanitarian expert from the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department to contribute to the needs assessments on the ground, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated at the request of the Government of Sri Lanka on 19 May. Under the coordination of the Mechanism, Denmark dispatched water purification units to Anuradhapura district for the provision of clean drinking water.

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