Sri Lanka – Floods and Landslides Leave 5 Dead

Disaster officials in Sri Lanka report that at least 5 people have died after heavy rainfall, lightning strikes, floods and landslides in several provinces of the country.

Disaster Management Centre (DMC) reported that the severe weather has affected the provinces of Central, Sabaragamuwa, Uva, North-Western, Southern, Northern and Eastern Provinces.

Four fatalities occurred in Badulla district, Uva Province as a result of flooding and lightning strikes. The fifth fatality occurred in Rathnapura district, Sabaragamuwa Province after a landslide.

As of 23 October, 1,661 people were staying in 3 relief camps in Gampaha, Western Province, after flooding forced them from their homes.

Sri Lanka’s Department of Meteorology said Dehiowita in Kegalle District, Sabaragamuwa Province, recorded 135.5mm of rain in 24 hours to 22 October, 2019.

The department has forecast further heavy rain, warning, “fairly heavy falls about 75 mm can be expected at some places in Central, Sabaragamuwa, Uva and North-western provinces and in Kaluthara, Batticaloa and Ampara districts.”

The National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) said landslide warnings were issued to the Ratnapura, Kegalle, Kalurata and Badulla districts.

Despite the heavy rain only one river was above alert level, according to Sri Lanka’s Irrigation Department. As of 23 October 2019, the Kalu Ganga river in Millakanda (near Bulathsinhala), Kalutara District, stood at 5.58 metres, where alert level is 5 metres and major flood level is 8 metres.

Severe flooding affected pats of the country in September this year, when at least 1 person died and 15,000 were displaced.

File photo for illustration only. A view of floodwaters in the Nathandiya area of North Western Sri Lanka, May 22, 2018. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Amantha Perera