Flash floods and landslides in Sri Lanka, triggered by more than three days of heavy rain, have forced more than 130,000 people to leave their homes for higher ground and killed at least 11, disaster officials said yesterday.
Troops have launched rescue operations in inundated areas of the Indian Ocean island, with boats and helicopters deployed to pull to safety more than 200 people trapped in the north-western coastal district of Puttalam, officials said.
Flooded roads and fallen trees led to traffic jams in the capital, Colombo, and trains were halted as water submerged railway tracks, officials said. Families living beside rivers used boats to make their way to safety.
At least eight people have been reported missing and nine were injured, the authorities said.
Transport disruptions included the diversion of three Colombo-bound international flights, which went to Sri Lanka's second airport, in the south of the island, and Cochin airport in nearby south India.
The rains are expected to disperse slightly soon, weather officials said, but strong winds will persist a few days longer.
Flooding and drought are cyclical in Sri Lanka, which is battered by a southern monsoon between the months of May and September, while a north-eastern monsoon runs from December to February.