At least 30 people died and six are missing due to floods and landslides caused by the incessant rains that lashed the country for the past few days. The Disaster Management Center (DMC), reports that the severe weather continued to submerge most parts of the island’s Northern, North Central, North Western and Eastern provinces and 106,000 people have lost their homes or evacuated to safer locations, the Disaster Management Center said.
The highest number of deaths was reported in the district of Badulla in the Uva Province where landslides killed 16 people in Badulla. Dozens of tea plantation workers were killed in the same district in October when mudslides buried their homes. Officials have been forced to transfer inmates from a prison and patients from some hospitals in the country’s north-central region to other facilities due to flooding.
Over 1.1 million people are affected by the heavy rains that lashed 22 districts. According to the the DMC as at Sunday, 28 December, 117,623 people from 33,811 families are housed in 618 shelters. A total of 1,106,380 people from 306,959 families are affected by the floods and landslides with 892,498 affected in the Eastern Province, 72540 in The Northern Province, 55487 in the North Western Province, 48144 in North Central Province and 12,892 in the Uva Province .
The Meteorology Department forecast heavy rains and strong winds over most parts of the island particularly in the Eastern, Northern, North Central, North Western, Central and Uva provinces.
The sea areas off the coast extending from Mannar to Galle via Kankesanthurai, Batticaloa and Pottuvil may be very rough at times and dangerous as the winds can strengthen up to 80 kmph at times, the Meteorology Department cautioned.
The severe weather has disrupted the election campaigns of the two major presidential candidates, incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena. Some groups were calling to postpone the elections at least in the affected parts and election monitors have raised concerns over how the displaced people can get to voting centers. The Commissioner of Election has told party representatives on 28 Dec that he will meet on 03 or 04 January 2015 to decide on holding of the Presidential elections if the floods do not recede as per the powers vested in him in conducting of elections.