Thousands displaced by Sri Lanka floods
January 14, 2011
The floods have been the worst to hit eastern Sri Lanka for several years Continue reading the main story
The World Food Programme (WFP) says it will provide emergency food assistance to flood affected people in Sri Lanka.
Nearly 8,000 houses were damaged by the latest wave of the floods caused by heavy rains and about 70,000 people are now being housed in emergency relief camps.
Authorities say at least 16 people were killed during the last two weeks.
The government says the military used helicopters to airdrop dry rations to flood-affected people in Batticaloa, one of the worst hit districts.
The WFP said in a statement that it is to provide food assistance worth 55m rupees ($0.5m or £0.32m) to 400,000 flood affected people in the east.
Sri Lanka Air Force helicopters already rescued 46 persons including a pregnant woman from Batticaloa district, the defence ministry said in a statement.
The government says that the army has deployed over 1,000 troops to help the flood relief effort, while the navy has dispatched boats to rescue people in the worst affected areas in central and eastern Sri Lanka.
Assistant Director of the National Disaster Management Centre Pradeep Kodippili said the number of people affected island-wide was 819,759 (215,986 families). Sunday's rainfall of 300 mm in a day in Battocaloa is the highest in recent memory.
As many as 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 entire arc spanning from Trincomallee in the north to Ampara in the south — covering 10 districts — have been affected. Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera put the losses due to the rain at LKR 30 billion.
In Anuradhapura district, one town — Horowpathana — was under water and the Tikkampatna dam had breached. Many roads in the hilly Kandy and Nuuwara Eliya have been rendered useless because of landslips.
Transportation by road and rail have come to a standstill in most of the affected districts.
More than 36,000 persons living in camps for the internally displaced in Batticaloa are among the affected.
Over 6300 IDPs in Polonnaruwa also have been affected by the floods.
The Air Force rescued 24 persons from Batticaloa since Sunday evening. It said its Bell 212 helicopter transported a pregnant lady from Valaichchenai to Polonnaruwa Hospital.
Another helicopter carried out a ration drop at Thoppigala on Monday morning, providing relief aid to flood victims.