Devastation after monsoon

This is Nadeera Story

Nadeera lives in Sri Lanka with her husband Rukmal, her children Hashan and Dinithi and Rukmal’s parents. 

Their home was destroyed when monsoon flooding caused a massive landslide in 2016. It completely buried three villages and claimed the lives of 170 people. Almost 100 of those people have never been found. 

When the landslide happened, the whole family was inside the house. They heard a loud noise, like thunder, and they ran out to see what was happening. 

It was hard to see anything – it had been raining constantly for days and the mountain was covered with thick, impenetrable mist. They didn’t know it yet, but the first of two massive landslides had brought rivers of mud and giant boulders tumbling down towards the village.

They knew they needed to leave quickly. Nadeera became very strong, picked up both of her children and ran out the back door and away from the mountain. 

Nadeera’s husband Rukmal helped his parents to escape. His father couldn’t move quickly, so Rukmal picked him up and carried him to safety. These quick actions saved their life. 

While they fled with their lives, their home was destroyed. The impact of the slide reduced the back of the house to rubble, while 12 feet of compacted mud and stone piled up against the front of their house. Had they left through the front door, the family might not have survived. 

Nadeera’s neighbour Chandana, told us about his experience of the landslide. 

"Around 170 people died and around 100 of them have never been found. Of the bodies that have been found, many had lost arms, legs and noses with the force of the landslide. You couldn’t tell who some of the people were anymore. When I go to sleep, I often think of those bodies. It is hard to sleep", said Chandana

The mountain is too dangerous for people to move back to their homes, and after so much tragedy, not many would want to. Therefore, Nadeera’s house stands in ruins, with personal items such as toothbrushes and flip-flops, left half-buried in the mud. 

Nadeera’s family, along with the others in her village, have been able to move into a ShelterBox camp set up in a safe area around a kilometre away. 

They are incredibly grateful to receive help from ShelterBox, as their house was only three months old when the landslides took place. They had yet to pay off the loan when the house, all of their possessions and their savings were destroyed. They have had to take out a loan from Rukmal’s work to help pay off the loan. 

While they won’t be able to save for a new house for some time to come, in the meantime, their ShelterBox contains all of the essentials that the family needs to start returning to normality, from kitchen utensils to water carriers and solar lights.


We support the most remote communities across the world that have been affected by disaster.

We go the extra mile to find the most vulnerable families whose lives have been devastated by disaster. Our work isn’t done until no family is left without shelter.