The District of Ampara in the eastern province historically known as Digamadulla, is bounded by the District of Polonnaruwa to the North, the Districts of Hambantota and Monaragala to the South, the District of Batticaloa to the east and the District of Matale to the West. Ampara district consists of 20 Divisional Secretariat areas, 525 Grama Niladhari (village headman) Divisions and 828 villages covering an area of 4431 km2 and its current population stands at 635,332. Muslims, Sinhalese and Tamil form the major communities living in the district and the ethnic ratio is 41.59 percent Muslim, 39.33 percent Sinhalese, 18.76 percent Tamils, while 0.32 percent consists of Indian Tamils, Burghers, Malays, Chetties and Bharathas.
In 1961 Ampara was designated as a separate District in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) after protests by the local population over the distance they had to travel to Batticaloa District office (Katchcheri) to handle administrative tasks.
The district is situated in the dry zone of Sri Lanka and is about 500 feet above sea level. The district consists of three main rivers, the Galoya, Mahaoya and Maduruoya. Ampara. District is predominantly an agricultural district producing rice on a large scale in the two agricultural seasons. The total cultivable rice paddy area is 55,000 hectares and the average production is 250,000 mt per season, which represents about one fifth of the country’s requirement. Eighty percent of the rice produced in Ampara is transported and marketed in other districts. There are nearly 250 rice mills to prepare rice for the market. Maize and cowpea are the other crops and a fair amount of farmers are involved in livestock farming too. Sugar cane is also cultivated and supplied to a cane sugar to the factory in the district, which is not functioning presently due to the war. Fishing (inland and marine) is the next most important livelihood in which nearly 17,000 families are involved and providing nearly 10,000 metric tons of fishes annually. The population of Ampara is also engaged in brick making, the garments industry, metal crushing, carpentry, masonry, metal work, and other cottage industries and services provision. The well-known tourist area of Arugambay is located in Ampara District.