COLOMBO: Sixteen people have been killed and over one lakh affected due to heavy rains and strong winds in Sri Lanka in a week, even as the Army was deployed for rescue and relief operations.
The inclement weather, persisting since May 20, has affected 20 out of the 25 districts of the country, including five districts which are on red alert for possible landslides.
"The death toll had reached 16 as of this morning (Saturday) with one person reported missing," the Colombo Gazette reported.
Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Centre said the bad weather has affected more than 130,000 people in 20 districts so far.
Flooding and subsequent potential landslides threat has forced the evacuation of people in low-lying areas in parts of the country, it said.
Five districts including Kegalle, Kalutara, Galle, Ratnapura and Nuwara Eliya are on "red alert" for possible landslides, according to the disaster management centre.
Meanwhile, the report said over 13,000 families have been evacuated to 231 welfare centres due to flood and landslide risks in 10 districts.
As many as 123 people from 36 families, who were stranded after opening of all spill gates of the Thabbowa reservoir, have been rescued in Puttalam in the North Western Province, the Army said.
The Army said these families were relocated to safe locations by its troops.
According to a media report, the South-West Monsoon is still suppressed by the persisting wind circulations and is expected to settle by end of this week.
The weather department has predicted that the prevailing showery condition may continue to next 72 hours in South-western area.
Heavy rainfall of around 100-150 mm is expected in the Sabaragamu, Western, Central and North-Western areas and while evening showers are expected in other areas, especially in North due to current wind disturbance.
Sri Lanka, which has been heavily deforested for cash crops, often witnesses landslides during the monsoon season.
Last year, heavy floods and landslides triggered by the worst rainfall killed at around 100 people and left 110 missing.