Emergency and Humanitarian Action (EHA)


Country Situation:

Sri Lanka island country in South Asia, located about 31 kilometers (19.3 mi) off the southern coast of India. There are about 20 million inhabitants, who have experienced impacts of both natural and man-made disasters. The 2004 Tsunami which affected 6 countries in South East Asia, killing more than 200,000 people overall, also affected Sri Lanka. 13 of 25 districts in the country and two-thirds of the coastline were affected, resulting in the death of 35,322 people and a million people displaced from their homes. Some of the Eastern districts are still recovering from this event today. Other natural disasters such as floods, landslides, and drought occur quite regularly as well. The most recent floods in May 2010 were a result of the heavy pre-monsoon rains and thunderstorms resulting in flash floods causing overflowing of rivers and streams. At its peak, 13 out of 25 districts were affected resulting in 606,702 people being displaced from their homes. According to the UNDP 2004 report on Reducing Disaster Risk, Sri Lanka experienced an average of 1.29 flood events per year between 1980 and 2000. In terms of physical exposure of its population to floods, Sri Lanka ranks as 11th in the world in terms of annual average exposure in proportion to population.


Man-made disasters, including conflict, fire and other hazards, have also occurred in Sri Lanka. The 30-year armed conflict between the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka finally ended in May 2009. The final days of the conflict resulted in about 300,000 people being displaced from the Vanni. The country is still in the process of recovering from the effects of the long war. Under the overall leadership of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), the country has been able to meet the different challenge faced and produced good results in terms of lives saved, as well as gaining valuable experiences and lessons in handling disaster situations.



*     Strengthen and communicate information for emergency preparedness, response and dissemination

*     Contribute to networks for coordinated preparedness and crisis management

*     Continue to address health and rehabilitation in post-tsunami and post conflict areas

*     Institutionalize the Emergency Preparedness and Response Programme within the health sector



In addition to supporting the activities of the Disaster Preparedness and Response Department (DPRD) of the Ministry of Health, WHO is currently also supporting the Health Emergency Disaster Management Training centre. (HEDMaTC).


The Health Emergency Disaster Management Training centre (HEDMaTC) was established in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, in March 2006. The objectives of the HEDMaTC are:

Plan and carry out in-course training, seminars and workshops to increase the knowledge on Health Emergencies and Disaster Management in relevant professionals and thereby to develop a core group of persons with expertise knowledge in these areas.

*     Establish and conduct post-graduate courses in Health Emergency Disaster management

*     Promote research on Health Emergency and Disaster management

*     To establish regional and global links and networks in the field

*     The training programme of HEDMaTC consists of three units;

1.      Public Health Emergency and Disaster Management Training for administrators and health Professionals

2.      Pre-hospital Emergency care training for doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers

3.      Injury research Unit


To this date, this program has been able to train medical doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers on pre-hospital emergency care. In addition, over 70 persons including administrators, local bodies and armed forces have been trained on Public health Emergency and Disaster Management who had played crucial roles in the response to the humanitarian crisis in the North at the end of the armed conflict in May 2009.

Situation in North Sri Lanka

*      WHO Support to Humanitarian Efforts in Sri Lanka

*      Health Sector Updates (Resettlement Areas & Menik Farm)

*      Sri Lanka Situation Reports

*      Communicable Diseases Weekly Updates (Resettlement Areas & Menik Farm)


Maps on Humanitarian Assistance

*      Human Resources

*      Mobility & Transportation

*      Reconstruction and Rehabilitation

*      Supplies and Equipment


EHA Photo Gallery

*      More Photos…