At least 34 killed as heavy rains hit Sri Lanka and Southern India

 Thursday, November 11, 2021 


Heavy rains on Sri Lanka’s coast and in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu have killed at least 34 people, destroyed thousands of homes and snarled traffic, authorities said.

In Sri Lanka, 20 people have died in recent days, most from drowning, while five were hurt in landslides, officials said on Wednesday.

Given the prevalence of COVID-19, the government has encouraged over a thousand families to move in with relatives to reduce the strain on government-run centers, said Sudantha Ranasinghe, Head of Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre.

In Tamil Nadu, at least 14 people died after heavy rains caused severe flooding over the weekend, the state’s disaster management department said Thursday. Officials previously said five people had died in the floods.

More than 1,300 dwellings have been damaged across the state, the department said.

The state’s capital, Chennai, and its surrounding areas have been experiencing power outages, it added. More than 100,000 acres of crops have also been damaged in the region, the department said.

More heavy rain is expected in Tamil Nadu and the southern coast of neighboring Andhra Pradesh state, as a depression over the Bay of Bengal moves toward the region, according to India’s Meteorological Department.

The department issued a red alert to parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, asking fishermen not to venture to sea.

Tamil Nadu state officials evacuated hundreds of people from low-lying areas and distributed rations and food to those already affected by the rains.

The state’s Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said that he had requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release funds from the National Disaster Relief Fund, adding that previously-allocated money was exhausted.

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