Week-long rains have submerged over 25 districts in Sri Lanka. So far, at least 20 people have reportedly died in the floods, mostly due to drowning and landslides.
The country was on alert for over a week after repeated occurrences of landslides and rockfalls. At least 5,000 people have been displaced from their homes.
As per the country’s disaster management authority, fatalities have been reported from northern, central, southern and northwestern Sri Lanka. Dozens of houses have been damaged in the deluge.
The authorities confirmed they have established around 150 relief camps to provide humanitarian assistance to those worst affected by the floods. As per Sri Lankan weather forecaster Shiromalee Jayewardane, the inter-monsoon downpour is likely to continue with Jaffna city and adjoining regions being especially affected.
This June, prolonged heavy downpour triggered similar floods and landslides, killing at least 17 people in heavy flooding that left behind debris of devastation. Tens of thousands were directly affected at the time across Sri Lanka.
October and November remain the months when Sri Lanka witnesses the northeastern monsoon season. However, this year, the rainfall has been much more than usual. Environmental activists blame excessive development, deforestation and variations in temperature causing extreme weather and climate change across South Asia.
According to a report titled “Accelerating Sustainable Development after Covid-19”, Sri Lanka currently stands among the top 65 countries that face the highest risk of impact of climate change, with its effects threatening health, education and environment. In the past few years, the country has seen growing concerns over the changing pattern of annual rainfall resulting in drought or flooding.
The continuous rains have also affected several areas of neighboring southern India, especially its Tamil Nadu State from where at least five casualties and heavy damage to infrastructure has been reported. Authorities in Chennai have issued a warning and evacuated people from low lying areas as the downpour is expected to continue in neighboring States.