Floodwaters inundate thousands of homes in Sri Lankan capital

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes after flooding caused by a week of rain in the Sri Lankan capital.

Worst flooding to hit island nation in decades

Sri Lankan navy and army personnel help with the evacuation after flooding in the Kolonnawa suburb of Colombo on Friday. Desperate residents clambered onto rubber dinghies and makeshift rafts after the heaviest rains in a quarter of a century pounded the island for a week. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka's government has raised the death toll from landslides and heavy flooding around the island nation to 73, as soldiers continue searching for scores of people missing since deadly landslides struck hill country several days ago.

In the capital, Colombo, and its suburbs, thousands of homes remained inundated Saturday, though there were signs of the waters receding.

About 243,000 people remained in temporary shelters across the island nation becuase of the worst flooding in decades.

Soldiers looked for bodies among thick mud deposits in the central district of Kegalle, where landslides swallowed up three villages on Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Sudantha Ranasinghe, who is co-ordinating the search, said one body and parts of another were found Saturday. Twenty-one people have been confirmed dead from the landslides in the three villages and 123 others are missing.

Roads were flooded out in Kaduwela, another suburb of suburb of Colombo. (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)
A torrent of water made crossing roads dangerous in Kelaniya, on the outskirts of Colombo for these men, seen Saturday. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images)
Navigating was a little easier in this neighbourhood of Kelaniya on Saturday. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images)
This man was almost neck-deep in water as he tired to cross a street in Wellampitiya, on the outskirts of Colombo on Friday. A week of heavy rains has caused chaos across Sri Lanka, unleashing deadly landslides and driving tens of thousands from their homes. (Eranga Jayawarden/Associated Press)
Sri Lanka navy rescuers walk with a woman on a flooded road in Biyagama. (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters )
Soldiers throw a bottle of drinking water to a flood victim in Wellampitiya, on the outskirts of Colombo on Friday. Hundreds of boats have been out in the deep floodwaters that have inundated thousands of homes in the Sri Lankan capital, delivering aid and rescuing the elderly and sick from rooftops as forecasters warned of more heavy rain. (Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press)
A child is helped to walk through the floodwaters in Colombo. Foreign aid began arriving in Sri Lanka on Saturday, bringing help to people forced out of their homes by flooding and landslides. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman carries her child as she walks through floodwaters in the Colombo suburb of Kaduwela on Friday. (Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images)