COLOMBO, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's Irrigation Department issued a flood alert in several areas of the country on Saturday, as heavy rains continued over the island country due to the onset of monsoonal showers.
The Irrigation Department said that due to the heavy rains in upper catchment areas, especially of the Kenaliya River on the outskirts of capital Colombo, a flood alert in low-lying areas had been issued.
Those living in these areas were cautioned to move to safer areas as the water levels in the Kelaniya River continued to rise.
At least four people were killed and over 170,000 affected by days of strong winds and heavy rains which lashed out across the country in recent days, the Disaster Management Center said on Saturday.
Till Saturday morning, seven people were also missing due to the inclement weather while two people were injured.
Over 5,000 people had been affected and moved to safer locations while 65 houses had been damaged in the worst affected districts.
The Disaster Management Center said that teams had been deployed on the ground to conduct search and rescue operations while the military was also on standby to help rescue efforts in the event of heavy floods.
The Meteorology Department in its latest weather report said that heavy falls of 150 mm could be expected over the weekend and the public was urged to be cautious especially from heavy lightning.
The department further said wind speeds were expected to increase up to 50 to 55 km per hour in Northern, North Central and North-Western provinces.