11/11/2021, 16.03
SRI LANKA
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Rains, floods leave 25 dead, seven injured, one missing and 200,000 affected

by Melani Manel Perera

Torrential rains continue to cause damage and deaths in in 17 districts with more than a thousand houses badly damaged. In Jaffna province, schools are closed. After people “started to breathe” following the worse of the COVID-19 pandemic, “this huge loss” came.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Floods caused by torrential rains have killed at least 25 people and injured seven in recent days, Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC) reported. So far, more than 200,000 people in 145 divisional secretariats in 17 districts have been affected, but this could change.

Fearing landslides, the authorities have ordered the closure until tomorrow of the road connecting the capital to Kandy at Pahala Kadugannawa (Kegalle district). In several areas, people have been ordered to evacuate with immediate effect. In Jaffna Province, schools have been closed until a later date.

Priyankara Costa, a resident of Madampe, a village in North Western Province, told AsiaNews that the fury of the waters swept away his cultivated land. “We have never experienced such terrible rain and flooding,” he explained.

His son is studying at Jaffna University and had to leave his boarding house in a hurry due to the danger of flooding. For now, he is staying at a campus hostel.

A total of 212,030 people or 60,264 households have been forced to seek shelter at 76 locations managed by the DMC. Some 23 houses are a total loss while 1,229 suffered damages. Experts warn that the threat of landslides remains.

Keerthi Perera, a resident in Gampha who depends on home gardening, says that floods have destroyed half of his plants. After suffering "from the COVID-19 pandemic, we started to breathe; now this new huge loss,” he said.

Shops and other businesses have had to shutter in a hurry as well.

Now everybody is hoping that the weather will improve. In fact, the forecast is for less intense rains today. However, the met office is still expecting significant downpours in the western part of the country, and possibly overnight in the North-Western, Central and Uva provinces, including Ampara and Batticaloa districts.

As for winds, they should continue to whip the island with speeds of up to 50 km per hour.

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