Deadly storms wreck Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan meteorologists forecast rainfalls of more than 100 millimeters in central Sri Lanka within the next day-and-a-half, which would result in more mudslides.

Miriam Griffin | May 29, 2017

At least 150 people are dead and hundreds of thousands more displaced amid torrential rainfall that has created deadly floods and mudslides throughout the country. The rains continue and may cause even more havoc, according to officials who call this weather event the worst rainstorms that Sri Lanka has endured since 2003.

The death toll so far is 169, as reported by the nation's Disaster Management Center. The agency also reports that 95 people are injured, 111 more are missing, and a grand total of nearly 500,000 have been in one way or another affected. Government disaster-relief teams are deploying to retrieve the dead and to rescue stranded survivors, many of whom face further peril from roaming crocodiles who have arrived into their villages with the floods.

Sri Lankan meteorologists forecast rainfalls of more than 100 millimeters in central Sri Lanka within the next day-and-a-half, which would result in more mudslides. The state-run National Building Research Organization urged residents of seven of Sri Lanka's 25 districts to watch for unstable mud slopes and to evacuate if the rains continue for another 24 hours.

Floods are a recurring phenomenon in Sri Lanka and the whole South Asia region. More than 200 people died in floods in India in 2015, while floods in summer 2016 killed 75 Nepalis. Both storm patterns forced hundreds of thousands of locals to flee their homes. Sri Lanka itself suffered floods and landslides in 22 of its 25 districts last year, and the consequent casualty toll was 104 dead and 95 injured.

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