Nearly 500,000 displaced in Sri Lanka floods

Sri Lanka Red Cross volunteers assess flooding damage in Kalutara after flooding. Photo courtesy of Sri Lanka Red Cross

May 27 (UPI) — More than 100 people died and nearly 500,000 displaced in Sri Lanka after flooding and mudslides triggered monsoons, the government said Saturday.

In addition, 113 people were reported missing, a government spokesman said.

An Indian naval ship arrived in Colombo, the nation’s capital, with relief supplies. And Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry has asked the United Nations and other countries for assistance.

The Sri Lanka Red Cross issued landslide alert Saturday, writing “people living on steep slopes and near dangerous cut-slopes should be watchful.” It said rain had ceased but it’s forecast to resume Monday.

Residents are being advised to move away from swollen rivers and hills susceptible to landslides.

Military boats and helicopters were sent to help rescue survivors.

“There is no danger to life now, it is a matter of providing food, water and looking into sanitation,” Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe said to the BBC.

Worst affected were the southwestern district of Kalutara, where at least five mudslides had been reported there, police said. The town of Matara also was evacuated.

Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Center issued evacuation notices to residents along the Kelani river, which flows through Colombo because its banks are about to burst.

Last May, a massive landslide hit central Sri Lanka, killing more than 100.


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