Sri Lanka floods could get worse: minister

May 20, 2010 (LBO) – Floods in Sri Lanka are expected to get worse with the arrival of south-west monsoon rains over the weekend, and residents close to river banks in low lying areas are most at risk, a senior minister said Water levels in two rivers in the southern Ratnapura district are rising, A H M Fowzie, disaster management minister, told reporters at the weekly cabinet briefing, Thursday.

“According to the (Sri Lanka) meteorological department the water levels may rise further and create more floods.

“There may be major floods and I have a feeling the water levels can really go up.”

The heavy rains were triggered by tropical ‘Cyclone Laila’ which originated in the Bay of Bengal and is battering south-east India with wind speeds of over 70 kilometers an hour.

Sri Lanka’s north-central Anuradhapura district, about 150 miles north of Colombo, Nuwara Eliya district, in the central hills and north-western Mannar, 100 miles north of Colombo, are the worse hit by floods.

Some parts of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s financial hub, were under water after four to five days of heavy rains, disrupting transport and electricity services.

Fowzie said so far 18 people had died from flood waters.

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