COLOMBO – At least seven people have died and five were missing in Sri Lanka on Thursday due to the effects of cyclone Ockhi, which has been lashing the island and parts of southern India, causing the evacuation of hundreds of people as conditions were expected to worsen.
In Sri Lanka, the country’s Disaster Management Centre said that as many as 20,000 people have been affected due to the heavy rains and high winds that began on Wednesday night.
Ockhi has destroyed more than 200 residences and partially damaged 3,000 other houses on the island, where the authorities are evacuating hundreds of people due to potential landslides, the DMC said in a statement.
The storm, which has maximum sustained winds of between 60 and 70 kilometers per hour (37 and 43 miles per hour), was expected to bring more rain and even higher winds of up to 100 kilometers per hour over the next 24 hours. The DMC has also issued flood warnings.
In the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, 315 people have already been evacuated to various shelters and efforts to relocate many more were underway, EFE the Assistant Commissioner of the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Agency, N. Suresh told EFE.
According to India Meteorological Department, the storm is likely to intensify into a “severe cyclonic storm” over the next 24 hours.
Earlier this year, monsoon rains and cyclone Mora caused at least 212 deaths and 79 disappearances in Sri Lanka.