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Sri Lanka floods recede, two perish

by Staff Writers
Colombo (AFP) Nov 12, 2010
Thousands of displaced people in Sri Lanka's capital were moving out of temporary shelters as flood waters receded, but a man drowned Friday, raising the number of fatalities to two, officials said.

The man perished when his makeshift boat capsized in a swollen river near the capital, which was deluged by the heaviest rains in 18 years on Thursday.

"Nearly 300,000 people were driven out of their homes initially, but thousands have left the 16 temporary shelters we had set up," a disaster management official said.

The national assembly was also flooded, forcing parliamentary speaker Chamal Rajapakse to take a boat Thursday to inspect the building, located on an island in a man-made lake, which is usually reached by a causeway.

Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the flooding was caused by the loss of marshes in Colombo which had previously acted as a sponge to soak up water during downpours.

Most of them have been drained for housing development.

The government sent in army, navy and air force personnel to assist the rescue and relief efforts as the heavy deluge inundated most parts of the capital where over 600,000 people live.

Traffic was heavy as parts of several roads were still underwater, causing diversions.

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

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

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S.Lanka floods force up to 300,000 from their homes
Colombo (AFP) Nov 11, 2010
Sri Lanka sent in troops to rescue residents marooned in the capital Colombo on Thursday after the heaviest rains in 18 years flooded the city, forcing up to 300,000 people from their homes. At least one man was struck down by lightning and killed while a woman was injured when her house collapsed, disaster management officials said. The authorities set up 12 temporary shelters in and ar ... read more

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