No fewer than 91 people have lost their lives and 110 more missing cases of flooding and landslides reported in Sri Lanka in the wake of heavy rainfall in some parts of the Island, government sources said.
Around 20,000 people were displaced from their homes in the south and western parts of the country, according to the Disaster Management Centre.
Deputy Minister for disaster management, Dunesh Gananda said in Colombo that “The Southwest monsoon began with very intense rain”.
“There are some areas where we are unable to reach, but relief operations are under way.”
The government agency confirmed the tally has reached 91 dead and 110 missing persons from reports filtering in from remote areas earlier in the day.
Sri Lanka has made calls to the international community and close neighbours for help to contain one of the troubling weather conditions which has resulted in death and increasing number of missing persons.
The monsoon in the southern and western parts of the country has caused destruction of hundreds of homes and several roads.
“The (foreign) ministry will continue to monitor the flood situation and seek assistance as required in consultation with the Ministry of Disaster Management,” according to a statement from government.
Current flooding was the worst ever since May 2003 when about 250 Sri Lankans died and 10,000 houses were destroyed following strong southwest rainfall, officials stated.
In response, the military call into action thousands of troops on Friday to reach isolated villagers while the nation’s air force helped out with evacuation of people from rooftops of flooded areas.
No sooner the monsoon began than a mountainside caved in on a women’s residence in a tea plantation at Neluwa in the south of the Island, causing the death of seven of the occupants, police said.
Warning alerts were sent to residents to avoid areas close to Kelani River, whose course links the Indian Ocean via the capital city Colombo, in speculation that it may break its banks
“The residents who are living along the Kelani should evacuate to high ground within six hours,” DMC advised.
According to DMC officials, the heavy downpour had been expected the previous night and now that it has taken place, it settled the long drought which had caused a big challenge to agriculture and hydro power production.