Torrential inter monsoonal rains wreaked havoc in the Western and Southern provinces yesterday killing five people and causing untold misery to thousands. Hundreds of houses were damaged when their roofs were blown off. Trees were felled by wind and four large Vesak pandals in Pettah, Borella and Grandpass collapsed. Road and rail transport was disrupted.
In Colombo, a young woman was drowned when she fell into a large water hole in the centre of the pavement at Wijerama Mawatha. The hole was not visible since the whole pavement was covered by flood waters. She has been identified as S. M. Anoma Gunadasa. A woman teacher, Thilini Palihakkara, attached to the Royal Institute was electrocuted in Slave Island. She had fallen into a pit that was covered with water and tried to get out of it by holding on to a damaged lamp post which was electrified. In the Kirillapone market a man died when lightning struck him during the morning rains. At Nagoda, in Galle, a brother and sister were buried alive by an earth slip.
Two giant Vesak pandals in the Pettah, near the Bo tree, junction, at Borella junction, and at Grandpass collapsed due to rains and gale force wind. The four pandals were erected at a cost of four to five million rupees, the organizers said.
In Colombo several roads were flooded and over three feet underwater at some points. Bloemendhal Road was almost impassable for cars and three wheelers. Even Union Place, Colombo 3, which never gets flooded, was at least one foot under water yesterday morning.
In addition to the woes of motorists, yesterday being a very auspicious day for weddings, stranded brides and grooms in decorated motor cars were a common sight as they raced against time to reach the venue of their weddings. Schools and offices were half empty.
The rail track at Sangamittapura in Galle was under water and train services along the Southern line were disrupted. On the KV line, trees fallen across the track caused considerable delays, according to Trains Control.
The Meteorological Department said the rains were caused by a low pressure area in the Bay of Bengal and would cease by late last night.