Heavy Rain, Floods Leave 91 Dead in Sri Lanka, Government Says

A Sri Lankan resident looks out from a building surrounded by floodwaters in the suburb of Kaduwela in the capital Colombo on May 26, 2017. (Credit: ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

At least 91 people are dead and more than 100 are missing after heavy monsoon rains drenched Sri Lanka’s southwest, the country’s Disaster Management Centre said Friday.

Nearly 24,000 people in 13 districts have been impacted by flooding or landslides, the disaster center said.

The districts most affected were Ratnapura, 100 km (62 miles) southeast of Colombo and Kalutara, about 40 km (25 miles) south of the capital, which both had a series of landslides after the monsoon rains.

Troops have been deployed for rescue operations and the Home Ministry has set up a 24-hour relief center for the people affected.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena was scheduled to return to Colombo Friday night after a two-day state visit to Australia and plans to hold an emergency meeting with emergency officials to discuss relief operations, an administration official said.

Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake told CNN a ship full of relief supplies from India will arrive at the Colombo Port on Saturday morning. He said this was only part of the assistance India has offered — a larger vessel carrying more supplies and personnel will arrive Sunday.

“We have a problem of limited resources to cope with the situation. Hence, we have made many appeals,” he said.

The South West monsoon responsible for the rain came after nearly two months of prolonged drought, which had prompted the World Food Programme to deliver aid to those affected.

Dunesh Gankanda, acting minister of Disaster Management, told reporters that a full assessment of the damage and an updated toll for the dead and missing would be known only when all reports from the districts were received.