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202 killed, 94 still missing after worst monsoon rains since 2003 hit Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Center (DMC) said early Wednesday, May 31, 2017, that the death toll from last week's devastating floods and landslides reached 202, with 96 people still missing.

The worst monsoon rains since 2003 and strong winds which lashed out across Sri Lanka since Friday have caused major floods and landslides in many areas of the island with the worst affected being the southern district. 

The Sri Lankan Department of Meteorology reported on Friday, May 26 that Kukuleganga in Sri Lanka’s southwestern Kalutara District broke rainfall records with 553 mm (21.8 inches) of rain in 24 hours. 488.2 mm (19.2 inches) of rain was recorded in Ratnapura, the capital city of Sabaragamuwa Province, May 25 into 26.

Early Wednesday, May 31, DMC reports 202 people dead, 96 missing and nearly 600 000 displaced. 1 505 houses were destroyed and 7 617 partially damaged due to floods and landslides.

Water levels of Kalu Ganga and Gin Ganga, the two rivers which overflowed and caused severe floods in southern Galle and Kalutara districts, are now falling and the weather has begun to clear. According to media reports, many people evacuated over the weekend have returned to clear debris and mud flow from waterlogged houses. However, at least 83 200 people are still seeking shelter in safe locations.

The World Health Organization said at least 16 hospitals have been evacuated fully or partially as facilities have been directly affected by the floods or exposed to landslides. 

"With the increasing number of displaced people and lack of space in safe locations, temporary shelter and ensuring access to health services is needed. Disease surveillance and vector control is also a priority with the risk of communicable diseases," a UN statement released in Colombo said Wednesday.

"Over the past few months, health partners have recorded a significant increase in dengue cases (53 200 cases with over 125 deaths) compared to annual data from 2016," it added.

The country has asked and received international, with China, US, UK, Pakistan, India, Japan, Australia, Norway and the European Union donating funds and sending relief supplies.

Featured image credit: BBC

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