Sri Lanka: Severe monsoon thunderstorms kill five

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Violent storms have killed at least five people in Sri Lanka, the country’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said.

Lightning killed three people, a landslide a fourth, and the fifth died after being hit by a fallen tree, officials at the DMC reported.

More than 170 homes were damaged in the severe weather and several accidents were reported on the expressways.

About 1,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and given shelter in temporary locations. The majority of those were from the cities of Badulla, Kegalle and Kalutara, all in western and central parts of the island.

Warnings are still in force there for torrential rain with totals over 150mm. To put this in context, Colombo usually sees 371mm in the entire month of May.

In the previous few days, even heavier downpours have been reported. In the 24 hours up till 8:30am on Monday, Anamaduwa, a city in western Sri Lanka, reported a staggering 353.8mm of rain.

The following day, it was Kurunegala that topped the rainfall charts with 194.8mm.

Landslide warnings have been issued for several areas and people living along major rivers are being warned about the possibility of floods.

May is usually the wettest time of the year in southern and western parts of Sri Lanka, as the summer monsoon sets up across the island.

Last year, the rains in May and June were so heavy that 100 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of people had to seek temporary accommodation.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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