Natural Disasters

Sri Lanka witnesses worst flood in 14 years; death toll reaches 100

Over 200,382 people belonging to 52,603 families were affected across 14 districts in the country

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Saturday 27 May 2017
At least 91 people have gone missing and 40 others have been. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
At least 91 people have gone missing and 40 others have been. Credit: Wikimedia Commons At least 91 people have gone missing and 40 others have been. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Unusually heavy rainfall has claimed at least 100 lives in Sri Lanka. Floods and landslides in the country’s southern and western regions have damaged more than 800 homes, according to officials.

At least 91 people have gone missing and 40 others have been hospitalised after unusually heavy rain triggered a series of mudslides and caused rivers to burst their banks, according to Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC).

Worst flooding in 14 years

While talking to media, one of the locals said that rainfall has taken everyone by surprise as some places received a year's supply of rain in 24 hours. It has been 14 years since people had seen so much downpour within a short span of time.

About 12,007 people belonging to 2,937 families were relocated to 69 safe locations. Credit: wikimedia commons

The flooding, according to media reports, is the worst since May 2003 when 250 people were killed and 10,000 homes were destroyed after an equally powerful Southwest monsoon.

The Sri Lankan Department of Meteorology data shows that Kukuleganga in Sri Lanka’s southwestern Kalutara District received 553.0 mm (about 22 inches) of rain in 24 hours. Similarly, Ratnapura, the capital city of Sabaragamuwa Province, received 488.2 mm (19.22 inches) of rainfall from May 25-26.

Extent of damage

Over 200,382 people belonging to 52,603 families were affected across 14 districts in the country. According to latest reports, 12,007 people belonging to 2,937 families were relocated to 69 safe locations.

An Indian ship carrying medical teams and supplies arrived in Colombo today (May 27), after Sri Lanka issued an international appeal for help.

While people hoped that monsoon will end a prolonged drought that had threatened agriculture and hydropower generation, so much of downpour dashed their hopes.

Mudslides, which further exacerbated the problem, have become common during the monsoon season in the tropical Indian Ocean island, thanks to heavy deforestation done for growing export crops such as tea and rubber.

There doesn’t seem to be any respite soon as the meteorological department forecasts heavy showers and thunderstorms in southwestern Sri Lanka throughout next week.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :
Related Stories

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.