31 dead as monsoon lashes Sri Lanka

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, June 10, 2013 7:25 EDT
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Onlookers peer at the carcass of a whale washed ashore following severe monsoon weather, in Colombo, on June 9, 2013. [AF}
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Navy boats and helicopters scoured seas off Sri Lanka for dozens of missing fishermen, as the death toll from strong monsoon rains and winds rose to 31, an official said.

The dead fishermen were listed as missing since the monsoon hit the island early on Saturday, destroying more than 100 houses, according to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC).

“We continue to look for missing people,” DMC spokesman Sarath Lal Kumara told AFP. “The navy and the airforce are leading the search and rescue operations.”

The death toll rose from 27 to 31, with all of those, except one, fishermen caught in rough seas, DMC figures show. Another 35 people have been injured, according to the DMC.

More than 100 houses have been destroyed and another 2,185 partially damaged due to strong winds, the figures show.

The weather has improved since Sunday, the department of meteorology said. The monsoon hits the country twice a year bringing much-needed rain, but also frequently causes loss of life and damage to property.

Seven people were killed in the country last month when a tropical cyclone brushed the eastern coast.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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