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Sri Lanka flood leaves dozens dead

By Yvette C. Hammett
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Sri Lanka flood leaves dozens dead
Heavy rains and landslides in Sri Lanka have left approximately 80 people dead, with more than 100 stll missing. Photo from Sri Lanka Red Cross

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, May 22 (UPI) -- The death toll continues to climb in Sri Lanka after the small country was pounded over the weekend with the heaviest rains it has experienced in more than a quarter century.

Rescuers pulled out more bodies Sunday from the muddy debris of a disastrous landslide taking the unofficial toll to over 80 with 118 people still missing Sunday in floods triggered by the heavy rains, Indianexpress.com reported.

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Relief aid poured in from across the world, including India, for the 34,000 displaced people. The torrential rains have pounded Sri Lanka since last weekend, triggering massive landslides that have buried some victims in up to 50 feet of mud. The Sri Lankan army and other rescuers pulled out 13 more bodies late Saturday night in the worst-hit district of Kegalle.

The national Disaster Management Center said 21 of Sri Lanka's 25 districts have been badly affected by the floods and landslides. In Aranayake 43 bodies have been pulled out from the debris.

"The sun was out this morning, yet the search operations were not easy," said Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, the country's commissioner of rehabilitation.

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According to the government assessments, some 427,918 people belonging to 105,360 families are affected by floods and landslides, the Emergency Operation Center of DMC reported. More than 319,000 have been evacuated to 602 safe locations. About 474 houses are said to have been destroyed and 3,674 houses partially damage by floods and landslides.

The Sri Lanka Red Cross tweeted the need for clothing, blankets and other necessities for flood victims.

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