Dozens killed after flooding, mudslides in Sri Lanka

By Eric DuVall   |   May 26, 2017 at 11:55 AM

May 26 (UPI) -- Monsoon rain caused mass flooding and mudslides that have killed at least 91 people in Sri Lanka, government officials said Friday.

Some parts of the country experienced up to 22 inches of rain over the course of 24 hours. Schools were closed across the country and the nation's military had been dispatched to the hardest-hit regions to assist in the search for survivors. Helicopters were air-lifting survivors trapped in towns and villages where mudslides blocked roads and destroyed buildings.

In addition to the 91 people killed, an estimated 110 remained missing, meaning the death toll for the island nation could more than double in the coming days, officials said.

The government advised any residents whose homes stand in low-lying areas or near hills prone to mudslides to evacuate immediately.

The Indian Ocean monsoon season's arrival means weather in the near future will be less than ideal for rescue and recovery efforts, according to Accuweather.com.

"Daily showers and thunderstorms are expected in the foreseeable future as the monsoon has advanced into Sri Lanka," meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.

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