Sri Lanka Floods Seen From Space

NASA has released photos revealing the extent of flood water in parts of Sri Lanka in May 2017.

Southern parts of the country were inundated after torrential rain between 24 and 26 May. The country’s Disaster Management Agency said in a report of 05 June that 717,622 people had been affected by flooding or landslides. As many as 212 people have died with a further 79 still missing.

Many of those displaced have been able to return to their homes over the last few days. As of 05 June there were just under 25,000 people in displacement camps, down from over 100,000 on 28 May, 2017.

The images from NASA show areas around Matara, which suffered some of the worst of the flooding. About the images, NASA says:

On May 28, 2017, the MultiSpectral Instrument (MSI) on the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite captured a false-color image of the flood. An earlier image taken on January 29, 2017, by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 shows the same area before the waters rose. Both images were made with visible and infrared light (OLI bands 6-5-3 and MSI bands 11-8-3) to distinguish the presence of water on the ground.

Matara was among the hardest hit towns. Low-lying areas around the Nilwala Ganga River (in blue) also have been submerged.

Matara, Sri Lanka in January 2017, before the recent floods. Image: NASA
Matara, Sri Lanka in late May 2017, during the recent floods. Image: NASA