Sri Lanka floods leave 600 000 people displaced

2017-06-01 05:11
Members of a Sri Lankan Navy rescue team help marooned villagers in Nagoda in Kalutara district on May 29, 2017. (AFP)

Members of a Sri Lankan Navy rescue team help marooned villagers in Nagoda in Kalutara district on May 29, 2017. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Colombo - Widespread flooding and devastating mudslides in Sri Lanka have killed at least 202 people and displaced more than half a million, the government has said.

The state-run Disaster Management Center said around 600 000 people remained temporarily homeless on Wednesday following last Friday's landslides and floods.

Al Jazeera's Minelle Fernandez, reporting from Matara, around 160km south of the capital Colombo, said aid agencies were struggling to distribute fresh food to rural areas.

"In the capital, shops and supermarkets are running out of supplies as people are coming in and hoovering up items," she said.

"While waters are receding in some areas, there are still some parts that are 10 to 12 feet under water." 

Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake said 16 countries had sent medicines and relief supplies to assist those driven from their homes.

"We also have a lot of enquiries from other countries and organisations wanting to know our immediate needs. We are moved by the spontaneous response," Karunanayake told reporters.


The UN warned that with an increasing number of displaced people and a lack of space in temporary shelters, many people were at risk of disease.

Sri Lanka has seen a significant increase in mosquito-borne dengue fever in 2017, with more than 125 deaths.

Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford, reporting from Kalutara city, said residents were still without access to water and electricity and heavily reliant on voluntary services.

"The UN has pledged more money, neighbouring countries have also come forward. The Indian navy has supplied three ships full of aid and China and Japan have also put money forward," he said.

"The Sri Lankan military is also saying it's doing all it can. Search-and-rescue operations are still ongoing. But residents are saying if it wasn't for private organisations and people coming forward, the government and military would be finding it even harder to deal with this crisis."

Mudslides have become common during Sri Lanka's summer monsoon season as forests across the tropical nation have been cleared for export crops such as tea and rubber.

A massive landslide a year ago killed more than 100 people in central Sri Lanka.

Read more on:    sri lanka  |  floods

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.