13 killed, over 225,000 displaced in Sri Lanka floods (Third Lead)

June 3rd, 2008 - 1:34 am ICT by IANS  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, June 2 (IANS) At least 13 people, including two children from a family, have been killed and over 225,000 displaced due to floods and landslides caused by heavy rainfall that has hit several parts of Sri Lanka over the past few days, officials said here Monday. “Our reports, as of Monday evening, indicate that flash floods and landslides have left 13 people, including two children, dead, and two are missing. Not less than 225,890 people from 52,989 families have become homeless,” Minister of Resettlement and Disaster Management Rizard Budurtheen told IANS late Monday evening.

Hundreds of army, navy and air force personnel are engaged in relief and rescue operations amid forecast by the meteorological department of more rains and strong winds in the coming days.

Torrential monsoon rains have caused the Kalu Ganga, Nilwala Ganga, Gin Ganga and Kelani Ganga rivers to overflow, displacing at least 9,745 families from these areas.

Minister Budurtheen said that the situation was getting worse for people in Bulathsinhala and Mathugama areas in Kalutara district as the continuous torrential rains have hindered the rescue and relief operation in a couple of villages in these areas.

According to Disaster Relief Services Minister Ameer Ali, southern Galle, central Ratnapura and western Gampaha districts are the other three districts that have been badly affected by floods and landslides.

Ali said two air force helicopters and navy boats were deployed to rescue and assist thousands of flood victims. The displaced families have been provided temporary shelter in government schools and temples.

“We have made arrangements to pay initially Rs.15,000 as funeral expenses for the families of the dead,” Ali said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Meteorology in its weather forecast report said Monday morning that “there will be showers and thundershowers at times in the western, Sabaragamuwa and central provinces and parts of the north-western province and Galle and Matara districts in the Southern province during the next 24 hours.”

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