Colombo: At least 27 people, mostly fishermen have died and 35 others injured in Sri Lanka as a result of stormy monsoon weather, officials said.

At least 26 fishermen are among the dead owing to the bad weather prevailing since Friday with the south west monsoon causing high winds and continuous rain.

Disaster management officials said that 37 fishermen and 43 fishing boats remain missing. "The government will provide assistance to the families of the dead fishermen," Sarath Kumara Gunaratne, Deputy Minister of Fisheries said.

Sarath Lal Kumara, the Disaster Management Centre spokesman said that 772 families or 1,446 people have been affected. "We have opened 5 relief centres for them", Kumara said.

Since Friday, the Sri Lanka Air Force and Navy have carried out joint rescue operations in the south western coast to rescue missing fishermen.

The meteorological department also came under fire for its alleged lack of adequate weather warning for fishermen. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's office said that the President had ordered the Minister of Disaster Management to initiate a probe over possible lapses by the met department.


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