In May 2016, heavy rains caused the worst flooding in 25 years in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s Department of Meteorology reported that during a 24 hour period between May 15 and 16, rainfall amounts ranged between 182-355 mm. Several landslides were triggered due to the inundation of water, the worst of which were recorded on May 18 in Aranayaka, Kegalle District where 200 houses were thought to be buried.

Where possible, ShelterBox prefers emergency shelters to be placed next to the damaged homes of families displaced by a disaster so that the families can begin rebuilding and preserve their properties and livelihoods. In the event that homes are still in high-risk areas, like those buried by landslides in Sri Lanka, camp solutions become a necessity.

Over the course of the deployment, ShelterBox worked in partnership with the Sri Lanka Ministry of Disaster Management, local Rotary clubs, the Sri Lanka Army, IOM, World Vision, Red Cross, and local Sri Lankan community members.

SRT member Nicola Hinds (N. Ireland) had the opportunity to meet Oshan Omesh, age 16, who lived just feet from where the landslide stopped. He lost a good friend, and his best friend had to move away from the area as his house was destroyed. Oshan was a great help to all the ShelterBox teams and helped with translating, phone calls and collecting beneficiary information.

Two primary schools offered to donate their playgrounds for use as temporary home sites. Pictured with SRTs are staff members from Hathgampala School, which lost 15 young students in the landslide. ShelterBox was able to set-up 27 tents at this school playground.

Because of your generous support, ShelterBox was able to provide ShelterBoxes to 126 households which comprised of 395 individuals in six camps. Current plans anticipate that many of the ShelterBox tents will remain in the camps for other families to utilize as the current tent occupants move into semi-permanent housing and finally into their new permanent residences. Thank you for helping us to ensure that no family is without shelter.

Aranayka, Kegalle District, Sri Lanka after heavy rains caused landslides, burying around 200 homes

SRTs Nicola and Mike Peachey (NZ) with Hasitha from the local Government office and staff from Hathgampala School, Sri Lanka, 2016

Students at Hathgampala School camp