At least 14 people have been killed by flash floods, mudslides and falling trees in Sri Lanka, plagued by monsoon rains, the National Disaster Management Center (DMC) announced on Sunday. ).

Among them, three people from the same family were swept away by the waters on Sunday near Colombo. Others were buried alive in mudslides, including an 11-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man, according to the DMC.

Nine more people have been crushed to death by falling trees in seven districts since the monsoon intensified on May 21.

Sri Lanka relies on monsoon rains for irrigation and hydroelectric power, but experts have warned of more frequent flooding as climate change warms.

According to the DMC, 20 of the country's 25 districts were affected by heavy rains and ordered residents living along major rivers to move to higher ground.

Planes arriving at Colombo International Airport were diverted to a smaller airport and exits from some major highways experienced flooding.

The government also ordered all schools to close on Monday, after the weekend break, amid forecasts of more rain. “There could be further heavy rain accompanied by strong winds and thunder,” according to the DMC.

Last week, conservation authorities found seven carcasses of young elephants that had drowned, a record single loss for these animals in five years. The onset of the monsoon triggered flooding in the elephant habitat area of ​​Dimbulagala (about 250 kilometers northeast of Colombo).

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