At least 203 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands are displaced after flooding and mudslides hit large swathes of Sri Lanka.
More than 1,500 homes have been destroyed and 16 hospitals evacuated since heavy rains began to hit southern and western areas of the island on Friday.
Sri Lankan disaster management minister Anura Yapa said many of the victims would have survived had their homes not been built on slopes.
Vowing to demolish all illegal structures, he said: “If we don’t stop this madness, we are going to end up with a bigger disaster very soon.
“About 30-40% of this disaster is due to illegal constructions.
“The local councils should never have allowed homes to be built on (landslide-prone) mountain slopes.”
Mr Yapa said residents in the worst-hit Ratnapura and Kalutara districts had ignored repeated warnings to evacuate.
Divers and navy personnel from India are helping Sri Lanka’s army, navy and air force with relief and rescue efforts.
More than 600,000 people remain temporarily homeless after the landslides and floods, the worst to hit Sri Lanka in 14 years.
With a lack of temporary shelters, many displaced people are at risk of contracting mosquito-borne dengue fever and other diseases, the UN said.
Source : PTI