Death toll of severe weather in Sri Lanka rises to 8

COLOMBO -- The death toll from high winds and rains that have lashed out across Sri Lanka since Saturday reached eight on Tuesday, while over 38,000 people were affected, the Disaster Management Center said in its latest update.

The deaths were reported from the island's south, northwest, and east, which recorded the highest rains.

Around 6,000 people were evacuated to safer locations, while the police were deployed for search and rescue missions in the affected areas.

Till Tuesday morning, 15 districts were affected by the rains, prompting authorities to warn against landslides and floods in low-lying areas after spill gates had to be opened.

The Department of Irrigation said several areas were inundated due to several major rivers overflowing.

With the threat of more rains, President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe directed the authorities to provide immediate relief to those affected by the adverse weather conditions.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera also instructed the Treasury to release funds to provide relief to the flood victims immediately.

Schools in the rain-affected areas in the Sabaragamuwa Province also remained closed on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka is facing its annual south-west monsoons with the Meteorological Department, in its latest weather report, warning of more rains in several districts across the country in the coming days.

"Heavy falls, about 150 millimeters, can be expected at some places in Sabaragamuwa, Western, Central, North-western provinces, and in Galle, Matara districts," the Meteorological Department said.

"There may be temporary localized strong winds during thundershowers. The general public is kindly requested to take adequate precautions to minimize damages caused by lightning activity," it added.

Over 200 people were killed and 78 people missing when the southwest monsoons caused severe floods and landslides across Sri Lanka last year. (Xinhua)