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21 Killed, 1.5 Lakh Hit by Onset of North-Eastern Monsoon Rains in Sri Lanka

Most of the deaths were caused by lightning, while nine people had drowned, Disaster Relief Minister Duminda Dissanayake said, putting out the casualty figures.

PTI

Updated:May 26, 2018, 10:50 PM IST
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21 Killed, 1.5 Lakh Hit by Onset of North-Eastern Monsoon Rains in Sri Lanka
Sri Lankans make their way to an inflatable raft to move to safer ground on the outskirts of Puttalam, Sri Lanka. (Image: AP)
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Colombo: At least 21 people have died and two were missing due to rain related incidents and lightening strikes in Sri Lanka, as bad weather hit more than 150,000 across the country over a week, the government said on Saturday.

Most of the deaths were caused by lightning, while nine people had drowned, Disaster Relief Minister Duminda Dissanayake said, putting out the casualty figures.

"We have housed over 45,000 people now in temporary relief camps," he said, adding that 21 out of the 25 administrative districts in the country were hit by the bad weather.

There was heavy rain fall from May 16 at the onset of the North-Eastern monsoon rains with many places going underwater, as landslide warnings were issued in the hill districts.

Spill gates were opened in several reservoirs in the country.

The minister said over 100 houses have been completely destroyed in the rains and winds, even as the Army was deployed for rescue and relief operations.

Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Centre said flooding and subsequent potential landslides threat has forced the evacuation of people in low-lying areas in parts of the country.

Five districts — Kegalle, Kalutara, Galle, Ratnapura and Nuwara Eliya — are on "red alert" for possible landslides, according to the disaster management centre.

As many as 123 people from 36 families, who were stranded after opening of all spill gates of the Thabbowa reservoir, have been rescued in Puttalam in the North Western Province, the Army said.

The Army said these families were relocated to safe locations by its troops.

According to a media report, the South-West Monsoon is still suppressed by the persisting wind circulations and is expected to settle by end of this week.

The weather department has predicted that the prevailing showery condition may continue to next 72 hours in South-western area.

Heavy rainfall of around 100-150 mm is expected in the Sabaragamu, Western, Central and North-Western areas and while evening showers are expected in other areas, especially in North due to current wind disturbance.

Sri Lanka, which has been heavily deforested for cash crops, often witnesses landslides during the monsoon season.

Last year, heavy floods and landslides triggered by the worst rainfall killed at around 100 people and left 110 missing.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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