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Fresh floods sweep Sri Lanka, 8 lakh affected

world Updated: Feb 05, 2011 18:17 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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At least 13 people have been killed and more than 8 lakh affected in fresh floods across Sri Lanka that have swept away homes, roads and vast swathes of agricultural land.

Renewed heavy rainfall across several districts in north, north-central and eastern Sri Lanka have forced army and navy personnel to fan out in teams to reach relief to the affected.

The Sri Lanka Air Force have deployed eight helicopters consisting of Bell 212s and Mi17 helicopters for rescue operations in flood affected. More than 17000 kilos of relief supplies have been airlifted for the victims.

The Sri Lanka Navy said that 40 relief teams were deployed in areas that are currently at risk of being flooded including in Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Anuradhapura.

``Floods are wide spread and are flowing over roads, agricultural lands and town centres. The accumulation of the rains that began in December is being felt as people continue to be displaced, many staying with friends and families, and damages to homes and already saturated farm lands continue. Many areas are inaccessible and thus the context of damage and situation is still unknown,’’ the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said in a statement on Saturday.

The DMC added that a total of 139,391 persons (37,673 families) have been displaced in 430 temporary evacuation centres in 11 districts across the island.

On Friday, a rescued flood victim gave birth in mid-air minutes after she was airlifted to safety in military helicopter in the north-central region of the country.

A spokesman for the main hospital in the region told AFP that the mother -- identified as KL Malkanthi, 33 -- and the baby girl were doing well.

Most affected areas had barely begun to recover from last month’s rain which claimed at least 43 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people when fresh downpours begun. The new flooding came after the United Nations late last month issued an appeal for $51 million in emergency aid to help up to a million people affected by floods last month.