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91 killed, 110 missing in Sri Lankan floods, mudslides

Associated Press logo Associated Press 26/05/2017 By BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI and ERANGA JAYAWARDENA, Associated Press
Sri Lankans watch military rescue efforts at the site of a landslide at Bellana village in Kalutara district, Sri Lanka, Friday, May 26, 2017. Mudslides and floods triggered by heavy rains in Sri Lanka killed dozens and left many more missing on Friday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena) © The Associated Press Sri Lankans watch military rescue efforts at the site of a landslide at Bellana village in Kalutara district, Sri Lanka, Friday, May 26, 2017. Mudslides and floods triggered by heavy rains in Sri Lanka killed dozens and left many more missing on Friday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

BELLANA, Sri Lanka — Floods and torrents of mud unleashed by heavy rains in Sri Lanka killed 91 people and left 110 others missing on Friday. Authorities appealed for international help for rescue and relief operations.

The Disaster Management Center said 2,040 people were evacuated to safer locations and more than 61,000 were affected by the rain that started early Friday.

The foreign ministry appealed for assistance from the United Nations and from other countries.

The government advised people living near swollen rivers and hilly slopes prone to landslides to evacuate, as heavy rains were expected to continue. Navy boats and air force helicopters were deployed to rescue marooned victims and provide emergency relief.

Deputy Minister for Disaster Management Dunesh Kankanda said many people were on roofs and treetops calling for help.

Many homes and roads were inundated. Schools were closed in the province of Sabaragamuwa, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) east of Colombo.

Aid groups, rescuers and other government workers were ordered to cancel any holidays and remain on alert for the next three days.

Mudslides have become common during the monsoon season in the tropical Indian Ocean island as land has been heavily deforested to grow export crops such as tea and rubber.

Last May, a massive landslide killed more than 100 people in central Sri Lanka. 

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