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Floods trigger mudslides, deaths

world Updated: Jan 10, 2011 18:41 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

At least nine people were killed as heavy rains continued to lash parts of Sri Lanka on Monday, rendering more than 800000 homeless and triggering mudslides around the central hill district.

Two children were buried alive in mudslides on Sunday. A six-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl were killed in separate incidents in the district of Badulla.

The eastern districts were worst affected where the Sri Lanka air force dispatched helicopters to airdrop dry rations. The air force also rescued dozens of residents marooned by surging flood water in the eastern district of Ampara in the past 24 hours.

Officials said schools in the eastern and central provinces were declared shut following the incessant rain. In many places, roads connecting towns and villages have been washed away.

More than 4500 houses have been completely destroyed.

The assistant director of the National Disaster Management Centre Pradeep Kodippili told the Onlanka website said at 482,830 persons belonging to 127,980 families in the Batticaloa District and 306,998 persons belonging to 80.410 families in the Ampara District have been affected by the floods, the worst affected two districts in the island. The number of persons affected island-wide amounts to 819,759 persons belonging to 215,986 families.

The Disaster Management Center (DMC) said that several Divisional Secretariat offices in the Eastern province are under water due to heavy rains

The current heavy showers began even as the country was recovering from the heaviest rains in nearly two decades in the last part of 2010.

Sri Lanka depends on monsoon rains for irrigation and power generation but the seasonal downpours frequently cause deaths and damage to property in low-lying areas.

The island's two main monsoon seasons run from May to September and December to February.