COLOMBO: Flooding and mudslides triggered by monsoon rains have left at least 100 people dead and more than 100 missing in Sri Lanka, officials say.
About 20,000 have been forced from their homes in the south and west of the country, rescue agencies said. Military boats and helicopters have been sent to help rescue operations.
South-West monsoon unleashing torrential rains, ravaged fourteen districts in the western and southern parts of the country during last two days in what was described as the worst-ever calamity since the 2003 floods.
Those living along the banks of Nilwala Ganga, The Gin Ganga and Kalu Ganga were also asked to move to safer areas because of the rising water levels.
Meanwhile, the Meteorology Department said that rain and windy condition is expected to continue over the South-Western part of the country due to South-Western monsoon.
“Showers or thundershowers will occur at times in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Central and North-western provinces. Heavy falls (about 150 mm) can be expected at some places,” it said.
Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said the death toll was rising as reports filtered in from outlying areas.
“The south-west monsoon began with very intense rain,” Dunesh Gankanda, deputy minister for disaster management, told reporters in the capital, Colombo.
As the death toll rose, the government appealed to the UN and to neighbouring countries for assistance.
“The (foreign) ministry will continue to monitor the flood situation and seek assistance as required in consultation with the ministry of disaster management,” the government said in a statement.