Deadly Sri Lanka floods: Thousands homeless

At least 42 people are feared dead and 200,000 rendered homeless; More showers forecast

Heavy rainfall experienced during the past week has wreaked havoc in Sri Lanka with 42 reported dead and leaving hundreds homeless in one of the worst floods in recent memory.

A spokesman for the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) told The Island that 222,699 people from about 60,784 families had been affected with 21 people injured, while 3,136 houses had been destroyed and 7,694 damaged.

Some 5,025 families were housed on over 100 evacuation centres. According to the DMC 18 districts have been affected by the floods, he said.

Duty Meteorologist of the Met Department Pabodini Karunapala said that more showers could be expected over the island during the next few days and the prevailing weather would continue in the Northern, Eastern, North-Central, Central and Uva provinces and also in the Hambantota District.

The worst affected areas were Hambantota (Southern), Kandy, Matale, Nuwaraeliya (Central), Polonnaruwa (North Central), Moneragala (Uva), Batticaloa (Eastern), Kurunegala, Puttalam (North Western) and Kegalla (Sabaragamuwa).

Vavuniya received the highest rainfall of 6mm on Sunday, followed by Pidurutalagala 3 mm, Moneragala 1.5 mm, Bandarawela 1 mm, Badulla 1 mm and Mahailuppallama 0.5 mm.

Eight out of 12 sluice gates of Parakarama Samudra was opened as the tank started overflowing as a result of heavy showers on Sunday, according to the Daily Mirror.

Polonnaruwa-Somawathiya Road also became impassable. Some 11,000 families were displaced in Polonnaruwa District alone.

The A-9 (Kandy-Jaffna) main road has been closed at Nochchimoddai in Vavuniya as the road went under water due to heavy rains experienced in the area, it added.

The majority of the flood victims, 135,686 were reported from Batticaloa District followed by Puttalam District where 4264 people were marooned by the floods, The Island reported.

Camps in Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa, Moneragala, Nuwaraeliya, Kandy, Ampara, Matale, Puttalam, Anuradhapura, Mannar and Badulla Districts accommodated 11,525 people displaced by the floods.

In those districts, 172 houses had been destroyed by the floods and 978 others damaged.

Emergency operations are being carried out by the DMC in association with other ministries, armed forces and police to remove endangered victims to safety.

Immediate relief were provided to all those affected by floods and earth-slips.

Several roads including the Kandy-Badulla road, Padiyapelella- Walapane road, Puttalam-Chilaw Main road, the A5 road between Nuwara Eliya and Chenkaladi, Potuwil-Panama road and the Nuwaraeliya–Welimada road were closed down due to the floods and earth-slips.

All efforts are being made by security forces and police to clear the blocked raods.

In the Eastern Province and in several areas including Lahugala, Potuwil, Polonnaruwa and Elabada more than 150,000 acres of paddy land were under water.

Cultivated lands in Dambulla too were inundated.

Train services in some areas had been disrupted by the floods, according to the Railways Department.

Due to the floods, the upcountry main line night mail train, Rajarata Rajini from Colombo to Omanthai via Vavuniya could not be operated.

Director, Water Management of the Irrigation & Water Management Ministry T . Meegastenna said 31 of the tanks were overflowing due to heavy rains.

Accordingly, sixteen sluice gates of the Rajanganaya Tank, six of the Weheragala Tank, six of the Lunugamwehera Tank and four of the Tabbowa Tank have been opened.

Other major reservoirs of the above eight districts were overflowing.

Meanwhile, the National Building Research Organisation warned that if the rains continue, some areas in Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya and Badulla Districts are prone to landslides and earth-slips including rock falls.


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