Sri Lanka flood death toll rises; 250,000 displaced

June 3, 2008 (AFP) – The death toll from a week of torrential rain across Sri Lanka has risen to 17 and more than 253,000 people have been driven from their homes, the island’s disaster management centre said Tuesday. Sri Lanka depends on the monsoons for irrigation and power generation but they frequently cause loss of life and damage to property in low-lying areas.

Heavy monsoon downpours have disrupted life in several districts but Kalutara on the south coast is worst affected with 11 deaths and more than 100,000 people displaced by floods and landslides, the centre’s emergency relief director, Brigadier N.B. Weregama said.

He said the overnight death toll from Monday had risen from 11 to 17 adding that more rain was predicted in the days ahead.

Disaster relief services minister Rishard Badurdeen told journalists the government had allocated 22 million rupees (204,000 dollars) for relief work.

The tropical island’s two main monsoons run from May to September and December to February.