At least 91 people were killed and 110 went missing in Sri Lanka due to floods and mudslides caused by torrential rainfall on Friday. A team of 400 soldiers have been rushed to the rescue of over 7,800 people who have been affected by the calamity.
According to the Disaster Management Center, around 2,040 people were evacuated to safer locations and more than 61,000 were affected by the rain that started early Friday. Deputy Minister for Disaster Management Dunesh Kankanda said many people were on roofs and treetops calling for help. People living near swollen rivers and hilly slopes prone to landslides has been advised to evacuate by the government as heavy rains were expected to continue. Navy boats and air force helicopters were deployed to rescue marooned victims and provide emergency relief.
The foreign ministry also appealed for assistance from the United Nations and from other countries. Rescuers, government workers and aid groups were ordered to cancel any holidays and remain on alert for the next three days. Many homes and roads were inundated and schools were closed in the province of Sabaragamuwa, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) east of Colombo.
According to a Reuters report, at least five landslides have been reported in Kaluthara, which is the worst-hit district on the west coast of the Lankan island. This is the time of the year when the island nation witnesses highest rainfall, from the month of May to September. As the rescue operations continue, Home Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardana has issued a warning that the situation can worsen in the next 72 hours, as reported by AP.