Heavy rains kill at least 91 in Sri Lanka

Dozens of people are missing. The navy deploys over 100 sailors and 20 boats to rescue and help people affected by rain-triggered mudslides in the south-west region of the country.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Rescue mission under way at the site of a landslide in Bellana village in Kalutara, Sri Lanka. May 26, 2017.

Floods and landslides in Sri Lanka have killed at least 91 people, while scores are missing after torrential rain, officials said on Friday, as soldiers fanned out in boats and in helicopters to help with rescue operations.

The early rainy season downpours have forced hundreds of people from their homes across the Indian Ocean island.

"The toll has gone up as we started getting reports from areas which were inaccessible earlier," a Disaster Management Centre official told reporters in Colombo as he disclosed the figures.

"There are at least five landslides reported in several places in Kaluthara," police spokesperson Priyantha Jayakody said, referring to the worst-hit district on the island's west coast.

Heavy rains have lashed several parts of the country since Thursday, inundating roads and houses. Authorities closed all schools in the Sabaragamuwa province, about 90 kilometres (55 miles) east of Colombo due to the rains and floods. Heavy flooding was also reported in the country’s south.

Military Spokesperson Roshan Senevirathne said about 400 military personnel had been deployed with boats and helicopters to help the police and civilian agencies.

The wettest time of the year in Sri Lanka is usually during the southern monsoon, from May to September. 

TRTWorld and agencies