Storm toll hits 200 in Sri Lanka, India
COLOMBOAn intensifying cyclone churned north towards Bangladesh yesterday after heavy rain in Sri Lanka and eastern India killed almost 200 people, with more torrential downpours forecast.
Impoverished Bangladesh, hit by cyclones every year, warned that some low-lying coastal areas were “likely to be inundated by a storm surge of four to five feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters)” above normal and raised the storm danger signal, on a scale of one to 10, to seven. Cyclone Mora was expected to make landfall today.
Floods and landslides in tropical Sri Lanka, off India’s southern tip, have killed at least 169 people in recent days, authorities said, with 24 killed in storms in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, either by lightning strikes or under collapsed village huts.
India warned of heavy rain in the northeastern states of Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland as Mora moved further up the Bay of Bengal.
Floods reached roof level and cut off access to many rural Sri Lankan villages, disrupting life for half a million people, many of them workers on rubber plantations, officials said.
Villagers in Agalawatte, in a key rubber-growing area 74 km southeast of the capital, Colombo, said they were losing hope of water levels falling soon after the heaviest rain since 2003. Fifty-three villagers died and 58 were missing.
“All access to our village is cut off. A landslide took place inside the village and several houses are buried,” Mohomed Abdulla, 46, told Reuters.
Some areas in the southern coastal district of Galle, popular with foreign tourists, have not received relief due to lack of access.
“My entire village is cut off and nobody can come to this village,” C.M. Chandrapla, 54, told Reuters by phone from the tourist village of Neluwa.
“There have been no supplies for the past two days. Water has gone above three-storey buildings and people survive by running to higher ground.”