5 killed as heavy rains lash Sri Lanka
Colombo, May 21 (IANS): At least five people have been killed and seven are missing as heavy rains and strong winds caused havoc in Sri Lanka, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said on Monday.
The deaths were reported from the eastern district of Trincomalee and in the lower central hills of Badulla, Xinhua news agency reported.
Three people were killed by lightning, one perished in a landslide, while the fifth death was the result of a fallen tree, said DMC officials.
Over 9,000 people were affected by the adverse weather while hundreds of families were evacuated from their homes as the Meteorology Department warned of more rains in the coming days.
DMC spokesperson Pradeep Kodippili said five major rivers were at spill level and those living in low areas were evacuated to safer levels.
He said floods were also reported from the Ratnapura district in the Sabaragamuwa province and a landslide warning had been issued for Kalutara, Kegalle, Ratnapura, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya, Galle and Kurunegala.
“The police and tri forces are all on standby and assisting in relief efforts. We request the people in low areas to move to safer locations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Education Ministry said schools in the rain affected areas in Sabaragamuwa province will remain shut on Monday and Tuesday.
Sri Lanka is facing its annual southwest monsoon, with the Meteorological Department warning of more rains in several districts across the country in the coming days.
“Very heavy falls, about 150 mm, can be expected at some places in Sabaragamuwa, Western provinces and in Galle and Matara districts,” the Meteorological Department said.
Over 200 people were killed and 78 people missing when the southwest monsoon caused severe floods and landslides across Sri Lanka in 2017.