Floods and landslides kill 15 in Sri Lanka

Several regions of island nation received twice as much rain over weekend as falls in a month

Stuti Mishra
Monday 03 June 2024 09:56 BST
Sri Lanka floods: Volunteers help with clean-up

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Louise Thomas

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At least 15 people have been killed and thousands displaced after heavy rainfall caused flooding and landslides in Sri Lanka.

Seven regions of the South Asian island nation, including the capital Colombo, experienced torrential rainfall of over 400mm over the weekend, twice the amount of rain that falls in a month.

The rainfall triggered flash floods and landslides, the Disaster Management Centre said.

“The minor flood risk is increasing to a major flood risk,” the centre’s director Pradeep Kodippili told the BBC’s Sinhala service.

Almost the entire country – 20 of the 25 districts – were affected by the rainfall.

Authorities have confirmed 15 deaths and said thousands of people have had to leave their homes.

Three members of a family were swept away in a flash flood near Colombo on Sunday while an 11-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man were buried under a landslide.

Nearly 4,000 homes have suffered damage and 28 have been completely destroyed.

Many people spent the night in the dark as the electricity supply was shut off as a precautionary measure.

Schools were closed on Monday and nine regions were under alert as more rainfall was expected.

“There could be more heavy rains accompanied by strong winds and thunder,” the Disaster Management Centre cautioned.

The federal government said it has mobilised the military to provide relief to the affected people.

Several flights arriving at Colombo’s main international airport were diverted to a smaller airport.

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