By Juliet Perry, CNN
(CNN)A major storm has hammered Sri Lanka, leaving dozens feared dead in landslides and forcing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
Thirty-seven people have died and 21 are missing after three days of incessant rains and landslides. The Colombo-based Disaster Management Center says 223,687 have been “affected” by the floods and landslides.
Around 200,000 people are currently being housed in hundreds of welfare centers across the country.
The northern town of Kilinochchi was struck by 372 millimeters (nearly 15 inches) of rain in just 24 hours — a quarter of the area’s typical annual rainfall.
The downpour caused flash flooding and destructive landslides across the country. Thirteen bodies were recovered by rescue teams in Aranayake, Kegalle District, after a massive landslide hit a number of villages in the area.
According to the Red Cross, 200 families were initially buried by the debris but rescue teams had managed to reach over 180 people.
A second landslide in Bulathkohupitiya killed three, a military spokesperson said, but he added that local villagers said up to 100 people could still be caught in the mud.
Workers in areas prone to landslides in the tea-producing district of Nuwara Eliya were evacuated to safe zones.
The rains have come ahead of the regular monsoonal downpour expected later next month and are the result of a depression in the Bay of Bengal, according to weather forecasters.
The downpour is now expected to move toward Tamil Nadu in India’s south.
Categories: Asia, Natural Disaster, Sri Lanka, The Muslim Times
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