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Cyclone aims for Bangladesh as flood toll rises to 164 in Sri Lanka

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Staff Writer | May 29, 2017
Bay of Bengal cyclone
Weather   Churning towards Bangladesh

Floods and landslides in tropical Sri Lanka have killed at least 164 people, authorities said on Monday, as a cyclone grew in the Bay of Bengal, churning towards Bangladesh and forecast to bring torrential rains to neighbouring India.

The floods have 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 (46 miles) southeast of the capital, Colombo, said they were losing hope of water levels falling soon after the heaviest rain since 2003.

Fifty-three villagers were killed 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.

The military has sent in helicopters and boats in the rescue efforts in the most widespread disaster since the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. About 100 people were missing in total.

The meteorology department said a depression in the Bay of Bengal had intensified into what has been named Cyclone Mora and forecast torrential rains over the next 36 hours.

Residents in seven densely populated districts in the south and centre of Sri Lanka were asked to move away from unstable slopes in case of further landslides.

The wettest time of the year in the south is from May to September.


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