Heavy monsoon rains claim 17 lives, force school closures in Sri Lanka

sri lanka satellite image noaa-20 june 2 2024

Heavy monsoon rains affecting Sri Lanka since Sunday, June 2, 2024, caused deadly flash floods and mudslides in which at least 17 lives were lost. More than 80 000 people have been affected.

Heavy monsoon rains battered many parts of Sri Lanka since Sunday, flooding homes, fields, and roads, and forcing authorities to close schools and cut electricity as a precaution. The Education Ministry announced that schools will reopen only when weather conditions improve.

“This intense destruction and disruption could bring huge long-term damage to children’s lives,” said Julian Chellappah, Country Director for Save the Children in Sri Lanka. “A combination of the pandemic and economic crisis has affected children’s education, with increase in school dropouts.”

Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Defense, Premitha Bandara Tennakoon, reported on June 3, that recent floods in the country have caused at least 12 fatalities and impacted over 87 000 people. Unfortunately, the death toll kept rising and reached 17 on Tuesday, June 4.

Navy and army troops have been deployed to rescue victims and provide food and other essentials to those affected.

“The Air Force has stationed helicopters in Ratmalana, Katukurunda, and Koggala for emergency deployment – these are equipped with rescue equipment and medical personnel if needed. 400 personnel are in operations. We have also deployed a reconnaissance aircraft to monitor flood levels,” Sri Lanka Air Force Spokesperson Group Captain Dushan Wijesinghe said.

In a forecast issued on June 5, the Department of Meteorology of Sri Lanka warned that several spells of showers are expected in Western, Sabaragamuwa, Central, Southern and North-western provinces.

Showers or thundershowers may occur at a few places elsewhere on the island in the evening or night.

Sri Lanka’s Department of Irrigation issued a public warning regarding river water levels as the Kalu, Nilwala, and Attanagalu Oya rivers reached “major flood” levels, posing a significant threat. The Gin and Kelani rivers, while still elevated, are still at “minor flood” levels.


1 Sri Lanka closes schools as the death toll from floods and mudslides rises to 16 – AP – June 4, 2024

2 Weather Forecast for June 5, 2024 – Sri Lanka Department of Meteorology – June 4, 2024


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