Sri Lanka floods kill seven, leave 750,000 homeless

January 9, 2011 (AFP) – At least seven people, including two children, were killed in mudslides in Sri Lanka where more than 750,000 people have been driven out of their homes by floods, officials said Sunday. The island’s two main monsoon seasons run from May to September and December to February. A six-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl were killed in separate incidents in the district of Badulla on Sunday, while five others also died in mudslides over the weekend.

Heavy rains have caused flooding in the island’s centre and east where more than 750,000 people have moved to temporary shelters after their homes were flooded, said N. B. Weragama, operations director at the Disaster Management Centre.

He said that 1,500 troops had joined rescue efforts to evacuate marooned villagers.

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