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10 December 2023

Thirteen dead in fresh Sri Lanka floods


Renewed rains in Sri Lanka have flooded a large number of towns and villages and killed at least 13 people, officials said Saturday.

Heavy monsoon downpours have driven some 800,000 people out of their flooded homes and into state-run welfare centres or to stay with friends and relatives on higher ground, officials said.

"The situation in the Eastern, North and North Central Provinces is serious as monsoon rains continue," the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said in a statement.

Police said the number of people killed in the latest flood-related incidents had risen to 13 after five people who went missing after a boat accident on Thursday night were later declared dead.

The DMC said that floods were widespread and were flowing over roads, agricultural land and town centres, worsening the damage already caused by rains that began in December.

At least 43 people were killed and a million driven out of their homes last month by flooding.

On Friday, a flood victim gave birth in mid-air minutes after she was plucked to safety by a Bell-212 military helicopter in the north-central region of the country, the air force said.

The woman had been among a group of villagers marooned in the town of Horowpathana, air force spokesman Janaka Nanayakkara said.

A spokesman for the main hospital in the region said the mother - identified as K L Malkanthi, 33 - and the baby girl were doing well.

The new flooding came after the United Nations issued an appeal for $51 million in emergency aid to help up to a million people affected by floods last month. Most of them were hit once again by the latest rains, officials said.