News ≫ Death toll rises to 194 and over 122,000 are displaced.

Death toll rises to 194 and over 122,000 are displaced.

May 30, 2017
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Severe flooding brought on by monsoon rains across southern Sri Lanka has resulted in the deaths of at least 194 people, and as many as 112 are missing according to the country’s Ministry of Disaster Management. Authorities are battling to rescue those still stranded and warn of the possibility of crocodile attacks. Banakiyanage Gnanawathie, who lives in the badly hit town of Matara, informed CNN that she had never seen such floods in Matara even though she had spent her entire lifetime in Matara. She said “We have lost all our belongings and remain in the clothes we wore. I am still happy we escaped the floods and even the crocodiles. There is only a roof and building. We have lost everything else.”

The heavy rain occurred over a very short period of time, leading to the displacement of around 112,000 people, according to Pradeep Kodippily, spokesman for Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Center. Almost half a million people have been affected by the flooding. The southern coastal city of Galle has seen 223 millimeters (8.78 inches) of rainfall over the past 48 hours, and Ratnapura, further inland, has experienced 453 millimeters (17.8 inches) of rain over the same period. Police and military rescue teams are moving by boat to rescue those marooned as well as retrieve corpses. Houses and shops remain submerged in ten to thirty feet of water. The expressway from Colombo to Matara, 100 miles south of the capital, remains flooded in several areas.

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs activated its Emergency Response Unit and called on the United Nations’ International Search and Rescue Advisory Group, as well as neighboring countries, to help in the recovery effort. The government has deployed 2,000 military personnel to affected areas. India has dispatched three naval vessels to deliver relief aid and disaster expertise.
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