On 26th December 2004, Sri Lanka was struck by one of the worst natural disasters of the century. An undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean created a powerful tsunami that killed tens of thousands of people and destroyed houses, local infrastructure, and the natural ecosystem. Many of those who survived found that they lost their means of livelihood.
Sri Lanka remains vulnerable to tsunamis, droughts, and floods, but also faces high levels of food insecurity. 1.2 million people are suffering the effects of drought and around a third of the population – roughly 7 million Sri Lankans – cannot afford an adequately nutritious diet.
For many families across Sri Lanka, life is challenging:
- 7% of the population live below the national poverty line (Asian Development Bank, 2012)
- 1 in 5 young people are unemployed – including over 1 in 4 young women (ILO, 2017)
- 22% of the population are malnourished (World Food Programme, 2017)
- On average, children leave school three years earlier than expected (UN Human Development Reports, 2016)
Islamic Relief in Sri Lanka
Islamic Relief began its operation in Sri Lanka in response to the devastating tsunami in 2004, focusing on Ampara, one of Sri Lanka’s worst affected districts. We provided emergency food, temporary shelters, latrines, and wells to meet the housing, water and sanitation needs of the population. When flooding and landslides hit the country most recently in 2017, we were on the ground to provide essential emergency support.
Contributing to long-term sustainable rehabilitation, we have built permanent homes in Kalmunai Tamil and helped people recover their livelihoods. In 2006 a one-to-one orphan sponsorship program was launched to support the many children who had become orphaned. Providing food and education, sponsored orphans can build a brighter future for themselves and their families.
On a seasonal basis, we additionally continue to offer Ramadan and Qurbani aid to assist impoverished malnourished families across the region.