COLOMBO: Monsoon rains triggered floods and mudslides in Sri Lanka killing at least 16 people and leaving more than a quarter of a million homeless, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said Sunday. Heavy downpours in 10 out of the country's 25 districts since Friday buried most of the victims alive, the DMC said. In the central Kegalle district, a pet dog pointed rescuers to a location where four members of the same family were buried alive, officials said. However, all four were found dead by the time they were pulled out with the help of troops. Security forces were deployed in several districts to help evacuate marooned villagers. The DMC said 270,000 people were driven out of flooded homes and were sheltering with friends or relatives, as well as inside state-run welfare centres.
The monsoon hits the island nation twice a year, bringing vital rain for irrigation as well as hydro-power generation, but also causing frequent loss of life and damage to property.