Vavuniya District

Vavuniya District (Tamil: வவுனியா மாவட்டம் Vavuṉiyā Māvaṭṭam; Sinhala: වවුනියා දිස්ත්‍රික්කය) is one of the 25 districts of Sri Lanka, the second level administrative division of the country. The district is administered by a District Secretariat headed by a District Secretary (previously known as a Government Agent) appointed by the central government of Sri Lanka. The capital of the district is the city of Vavuniya.

Vavuniya District
வவுனியா மாவட்டம்
වවුනියා දිස්ත්‍රික්කය
Location within Sri Lanka
DS and GN Divisions of Vavuniya District, 2006
Coordinates: 08°50′N 80°30′E
CountrySri Lanka
DS Division
  • Vavuniya
  • Vavuniya North
  • Vavuniya South
  • Venkalacheddikulam
  District SecretaryS. M. Saman Bandulasena
  • Selvam Adaikalanathan
  • Sivasakthy Ananthan
  • Rishad Bathiudeen
  • Hunais Farook
  • Muthali Bawa Farook
  • Vino Noharathalingam
  • R. Indrarajah
  • A. Jayathilaka
  • K. T. Linganathan
  • P. Sathiyalingam
  • A. D. D. Senevirathna
  • M. Thiyagarajah
  Total1,967 km2 (759 sq mi)
  Land1,861 km2 (719 sq mi)
  Water106 km2 (41 sq mi)  5.39%
  Rank15th (3.00% of total area)
 (2012 census)[2]
  Rank22nd (0.85% of total pop.)
  Density87/km2 (230/sq mi)
(2012 census)[2]
  Sri Lankan Tamil141,269 (82.37%)
  Sinhalese17,191 (10.02%)
  Sri Lankan Moors11,700 (6.82%)
  Indian Tamil1,292 (0.75%)
  Other59 (0.03%)
(2012 census)[3]
  Hindu119,286 (69.55%)
  Christian22,820 (13.31%)
  Buddhist16,688 (9.73%)
  Muslim12,341 (7.20%)
  Other376 (0.22%)
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (Sri Lanka)
Post Codes
Telephone Codes024
ISO 3166 codeLK-44
Vehicle registrationNP
Official LanguagesTamil, Sinhala
WebsiteVavuniya District Secretariat


Between 5th century BC and 13th century AD present day Vavuniya District was part of Rajarata. Vavuniya District was thereafter ruled by Vanniar Chieftains who paid tribute to the pre-colonial Jaffna kingdom.[4] The district then came under Portuguese, Dutch and British control. In 1815 the British gained control of the entire island of Ceylon. They divided the island into three ethnic based administrative structures: Low Country Sinhalese, Kandyan Sinhalese and Tamil. The district, which was then called Vanni District, was part of the Tamil administration. In 1833, in accordance with the recommendations of the Colebrooke-Cameron Commission, the ethnic based administrative structures were unified into a single administration divided into five geographic provinces.[5] Vanni District, together with Jaffna District and Mannar District, formed the new Northern Province.[6]

Vanni District was later renamed Mullaitivu District and then Vavuniya District. At the time that Ceylon gained independence, Vavuniya was one of the three districts located in the Northern Province. Mullaitivu District was carved out of the northern part of Vavuniya District in September 1978.

Parts of Vavuniya District were under the control of rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for many years during the civil war. The entire district was recaptured by the Sri Lankan military in 2008.


Vavuniya District is located in the north of Sri Lanka in the Northern Province. It has an area of 1,967 square kilometres (759 sq mi).[1]

Administrative units

Vavuniya District is divided into 4 Divisional Secretary's Division (DS Divisions), each headed by a Divisional Secretary (previously known as an Assistant Government Agent).[7] The DS Divisions are further sub-divided into 102 Grama Niladhari Divisions (GN Divisions).[7]

DS Division Main Town Divisional Secretary GN
Population (2012 Census)[9] Population
Sri Lankan
SinhaleseSri Lankan MoorsIndian
VavuniyaVavuniyaK. Uthayarajah42614107,6683,4244,8681,16726117,153191
Vavuniya NorthNedunkeniK. Paranthaman2074510,83055471032411,51815
Vavuniya SouthM. S. Janaka2020051812,54632113,07065
VenkalacheddikulamCheddikulamN. Kamalathasan2040822,2536676,82220829,77073



Vavuniya District's population was 171,511 in 2012.[2] The population of the district is mostly Sri Lankan Tamil.

The population of the district, like the rest of the north and east of Sri Lanka, has been heavily affected by the civil war. The war killed an estimated 100,000 people.[10] Several hundred thousand Sri Lankan Tamils, possibly as much as one million, emigrated to the West during the war.[11] Many Sri Lankan Tamils also moved to the relative safety of the capital Colombo. Most of the Sri Lankan Moors and Sinhalese who lived in the district fled to other parts of Sri Lanka or were forcibly expelled by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, though most of them have returned to the district since the end of the civil war.


Population of Vavuniya District by ethnic group 1881 to 2012[2][12][13]
Year Tamil[lower-alpha 1] Sinhalese Muslim[lower-alpha 2] Other Total
1881 Census13,16484.55%1,1577.43%1,1337.28%1150.74%15,569
1891 Census13,03084.06%1,1997.73%1,1397.35%1330.86%15,501
1901 Census12,72683.95%1,1287.44%1,0697.05%2361.56%15,159
1911 Census14,05981.10%1,84810.66%1,2417.16%1881.08%17,336
1921 Census14,97880.07%2,21511.84%1,3457.19%1680.90%18,706
1946 Census17,07173.44%3,87016.65%2,1539.26%1520.65%23,246
1963 Census51,41075.05%12,02017.55%4,9007.15%1700.25%68,500
1971 Census73,01076.42%15,54116.27%6,6656.98%3200.33%95,536
1981 Census73,13376.26%15,87616.55%6,6406.92%2550.27%95,904
1990 Estimaten/an/an/an/an/an/an/an/a129,895
1998 Estimaten/an/an/an/an/an/an/an/a129,655
1999 Estimaten/an/an/an/an/an/an/an/a132,737
2000 Estimaten/an/an/an/an/an/an/an/a145,159
2001 Estimate[lower-alpha 3]123,26888.64%12,1598.45%8,4715.89%420.03%143,940
2002 Estimate121,63584.34%13,1969.15%9,3896.51%00.00%144,220
2003 Estimate123,70483.99%14,3869.77%9,1926.24%00.00%147,292
2004 Estimate127,60484.43%14,6999.73%8,8395.85%00.00%151,142
2005 Estimaten/an/an/an/an/an/an/an/a180,949
2006 Estimaten/an/an/an/an/an/an/an/a182,808
2007 Estimate157,91786.27%13,5357.39%11,5946.33%00.00%183,046
2008 Estimate152,92786.67%13,4237.61%10,0905.72%00.00%176,440
2009 Estimate179,85086.93%16,1777.82%10,8585.25%00.00%206,885
2011 Enumeration136,66582.90%16,55510.04%11,4916.97%1410.09%164,852
2012 Census142,56183.12%17,19110.02%11,7006.82%590.03%171,511


Population of Vavuniya District by religion 1981 to 2012[3][14]
Year Hindu Christian[lower-alpha 4] Buddhist Islam Others Total
1981 Census65,57468.72%7,3387.69%15,75416.51%6,7407.06%220.02%95,428
2012 Census119,28669.55%22,82013.31%16,6889.73%12,3417.20%3760.22%171,511

Politics and government

Local government

DS Divisions of Vavuniya District, 2006

Vavuniya District has 5 local authorities of which one is an Urban Council and the remaining 4 are Divisional Councils (Pradesha Sabhai or Pradeshiya Sabha).[7]

Local Authority Area
(2011)[lower-alpha 5]
Elected Members
(2011)[lower-alpha 6]
TNA[lower-alpha 7]UPFAUNPSLMCOtherTotal
Vavuniya North Divisional Council769.6010,39210,9558410013
Vavuniya South Sinhala Divisional Council188.5012,3829,633071019
Vavuniya South Tamil Divisional Council588.2076,24248,4777210010
Vavuniya Urban Council23.5031,69924,6268201011
Venkalacheddikulam Divisional Council412.9830,60918,925520209


  1. Sri Lankan Tamil and Indian Tamil.
  2. Sri Lankan Moors and Indian Moors.
  3. 2001 Census was not carried out in Vavuniya District.
  4. Roman Catholic and Other Christian.
  5. 2009 for Vavuniya Urban Council.
  6. 2009 for Vavuniya Urban Council.
  7. Includes DPLF.


  1. "Area of Sri Lanka by province and district" (PDF). Statistical Abstract 2011. Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
  2. "A2 : Population by ethnic group according to districts, 2012". Census of Population & Housing, 2011. Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka.
  3. "A3 : Population by religion according to districts, 2012". Census of Population & Housing, 2011. Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka.
  4. de Silva, K. M. (1981). A History of Sri Lanka. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. pp. xvii.
  5. Mills, Lennox A. (1933). Ceylon Under British Rule (1795 - 1932). London: Oxford University Press. pp. 67–68.
  6. Medis, G. C. (1946). Ceylon Under the British (2nd (revised) ed.). Colombo: The Colombo Apothecaries Co. pp. 39–40.
  7. "Statistical Information 2012". Northern Provincial Council.
  8. "Land area by province, district and divisional secretariat division" (PDF). Statistical Abstract 2011. Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-15. Retrieved 2014-01-27.
  9. "A6 : Population by ethnicity and district according to Divisional Secretary's Division, 2012". Census of Population & Housing, 2011. Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka.
  10. "Up to 100,000 killed in Sri Lanka's civil war: UN". ABC News (Australia). 20 May 2009.
  11. Harrison, Frances (23 July 2003). "Twenty years on - riots that led to war". BBC News.
  12. "Statistical Information 2010" (PDF). Northern Provincial Council.
  13. "Enumeration of Vital Events 2011 - Northern Province" (PDF). Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka.
  14. "Population by religion and district, Census 1981, 2001" (PDF). Statistical Abstract 2011. Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-15. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
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