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Developing story – Heavy rains: Thousands affected as red warning issued

The Western and Southern province have borne the brunt of the heavy rains, with over 45,000 people affected so far.

Tens of thousands continue to be affected as many parts of the island are inundated with seemingly ceaseless rain since Sunday.

The Western and Southern province have borne the brunt of the heavy rains, with over 45,000 people affected so far. At least one death has been reported since yesterday, and many homes have been left severely damaged, according to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC)’s situation report.

Navy personnel engaged in rescue operations. Image credit: navy.lk

Flooding

In the Western Province, the Gampaha district has been the worst hit so far, with 28,381 from 7,145 families affected. The Colombo district has seen 2,685 people affected from 672 families, while 159 from 49 families were reported to be affected in Kalutara.

In the south, the DMC reports nearly 14,000 people affected from over 3,500 families.

Galle has seen much of the damage, with a total of 11,510 people belonging to 2,933 families affected. (These numbers are being regularly updated here).

Flooding in Matara has affected some 2,416 people in 596 families.

DMC Matara District Assistant Director General Prabath Kalubowila told RepublicNext that this was due to the overflowing of Nilwala River which flows through the district.

The water level of the Nilwala has risen to 6.86m, exceeding manageable flooding levels, Kalubowila said.

Heavy falls have caused minor damages to at least 83 houses in Matara district while three houses have been damaged severely, he added.

Rising water levels

Water levels as at 1230hrs on 24 September – Image credit: Sampath Kukulavithana of the DMC

The water level of Kalu Ganga, Gin Ganga and Nilwala Ganga are rising steadily in parts of the island, according to the Department of Irrigation’s Hydrology Unit.

The water level of Kalu Ganga was at 7.23m by 3pm today, posing a risk of minor flood in the Millakanda area.

A minor flood alert has already been issued for Baddegama.

Panadugama, near Akuressa, is in danger of undergoing a “major flood”, according to the Irrigation Department, with water level of the Nilvala having risen to 6.88m.

Traffic update

Traffic in Colombo, too, has been heavily affected by the rain.

The Police Media Division (PMD) noted that the following roads have been flooded since yesterday.

  • Armour Street opposite the Jethawana Temple
  • Barber Street
  • St. James Street in Kotahena
  • Jinthupitiya junction along Reclamation Road
  • The road opposite the Kirulapone police station
  • High-Level Road, Baseline Road, and Robert Gunawardena junction
  • Road near the Maha Visuddharamaya Temple in Dematagoda

Meanwhile, the Road Development Authority (RDA) has advised motorists using expressways to maintain a speed limit of 60kmph in order to avoid traffic accidents.

The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) has also requested passengers to be present at the airport at least three hours prior to their departure owing to weather conditions prevalent in Katunayake.

Forecast

The red warning issued by the Met Department early this morning

The Meteorology Department, meanwhile, issuing a red warning this morning said heavy showers will continue late into tomorrow evening (25).

Very heavy falls above 200mm are likely in parts of the Western, Southern, Sabaragamuwa, and Central provinces, while heavy falls above 100mm are likely in parts of the Northwestern, Northern, Uva and Eastern provinces.