Sri Lanka has been experiencing one of the worst droughts in 40 years, affecting most parts of the country since the beginning of 2016. Although there were extremely heavy downpours during mid-May 2016, the total cumulative rainfall received during 2016 was below normal and highly erratic as the south west inter-monsoons and north east monsoons failed to bring enough rainfall in the wet and dry zones of the country.
On 19 January 2017, the Sri Lankan Government sent a formal request to WFP for technical assistance on drought response including assessment, emergency relief and impact monitoring. A further request for assistance was made by the Government to foreign missions and humanitarian partners on the 21 March 2017 outlining the relief needed for drought affected households.
An IR-prep was approved in February 2017 with the aim of carrying out a drought impact assessment, developing a coordinated emergency response with the government, initiating a vulnerability analysis system for drought monitoring and establishing field operations necessary for the anticipated drought response.
This EMOP aims to:
- provide targeted food assistance in the form of cash-based transfers to the 25,000 most vulnerable affected individuals in the four hardest hit districts for six months;
- improve the capacity of the Samurdhi social safety net scheme to identify and target vulnerable households in disaster response through its registered beneficiary database; and
- support the government in setting-up a real-time vulnerability analysis system to systematically monitor and assess the impact of the drought given strong concerns of a subsequent poor harvest season.
Through this response, the EMOP contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 2 and 17, and is in line with WFP’s Strategic Objective 1 (by protecting access to food) and Strategic Objective 5 (by directly partnering with the Government of Sri Lanka and collaborating with the humanitarian community in country).