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Rain-triggered Floods, Landslides Kill Over 90 in Sri Lanka

Heavy floods and landslides triggered by the worst rainfall since 1970s have killed over 90 people and left 110 missing in Sri Lanka, officials said on Friday, warning the situation could get worse.

PTI

Updated:May 26, 2017, 11:57 PM IST
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Rain-triggered Floods, Landslides Kill Over 90 in Sri Lanka
Over 20,000 people have been displaced in seven districts of Sri Lanka. (Photo: Reuters)

Colombo: Heavy floods and landslides triggered by the worst rainfall since 1970s have killed over 90 people and left 110 missing in Sri Lanka, officials said on Friday, warning the situation could get worse.

Over 20,000 people have been displaced in seven districts as the south western monsoon caused havoc, destroying hundreds of homes and cutting off several roads.

“We have seen worst rainfall since the 1970s,” said Dunesh Gankanada, deputy minister of Disaster Management Centre (DMC).

“We are carrying out relief operations in some areas when we can’t even reach some of the affected areas,” Gankanda said, adding that people in the southeastern region of Ratnapura were taking shelter on tree tops.

The DMC said the death toll has risen to 91 and another 110 remain missing with reports coming in from areas which were inaccessible earlier in the day.

The government has alerted international organisations for relief, Gankanda said. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will keep monitoring the situation and will seek assistance as required,” said Deputy Minister Karunaratne Paranavithana.

Sri Lanka Airforce and the Navy are working to provide relief to people stranded by floods with helicopters and boats deployed, an official has said.

Relief officials said the monsoon had been expected, yet the rainfall recorded was at unexpected levels. Over 600 millimeters of rain was recorded in some areas with other badly affected areas receiving rainfall ranging between 300 and 500 millimetres.

Chief of Meteorological Department R S Jayasekera said while the peak of the monsoon had passed, more rains are expected during the next few days. Jayasekera said it is expected to intensify again on May 30. He said the rainfall was more than in 2003 in the south of the island which killed over 250 people.

The DMC said the death toll has risen to 91 and another 110 remain missing with reports coming in from areas which were inaccessible earlier in the day.

A majority of those killed were from a landslide in Kalutara and flooding in Ratnapura district, officials said.

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