100s Feared Dead in Sri Lanka After Floods and Landslides

Torrential monsoon rain across parts of Sri Lanka over the last 4 or 5 days has led to flooding and several landslides. Over 120 mm of rain fell in the last 24 hours in Ratnapura, Sabaragamuwa Province.

On Wednesday 29 October 2014 the heavy rain led to a mudslide in the Meeriyabedda tea plantation near the town of Haldummulla, Badulla District of Uva Province, which is about 120 miles inland from the capital Colombo. This hilly region is notorious for mudslides, particularly at this time of year. Initial assessments say that the mudslides has killed at least 10 people, with hundreds still missing.

It is thought that as many as 140 houses have been engulfed by the mud. Local media say that Army and Police personnel were engaged in rescue operations while five teams from the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) were also deployed in the rescue mission.

Landslides have also struck in Mawanella, Kegalle affecting 37 people and damaging around 10 houses. No injuries or deaths have been reported.

Floods

The heavy rain has also led to flooding in other areas of the country. According to the latest Situation Report from Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre, flooding has damaged at least 10 houses in Wellawaya in Monaragala District, Uva Province. Flash floods have also affected several towns in the districts of Matara where 3 people have been injured and a total of 3000 affected, Kurunegala (around 1,000 affected) and Galle (1600 affected). Minor flooding has also been reported in Kegalle and Kandy.

Drought

The torrential rain comes after a period of drought that has affected northern parts of the country. Earlier this month officials in Vavuniya District said that 60 percent of the rice harvest could be lost as a result of drought.

Previous Floods

Earlier this week the northeast monsoon rain led to flooding in parts of southern India, leaving at least 5 dead.

Sri Lanka suffered from severe flooding in June this year where 23 people died after long periods of torrential rain.