Sri Lanka floods leave tens of thousands homeless

May 6, 2007 (AFP) – More than 125,000 people have been driven out of their homes and 16 killed following flash floods in the Sri Lankan capital and neighbouring areas, officials said Sunday. The Disaster Management Centre said at least 50,000 residents of Colombo were affected by heavy rains on Thursday and Friday.

More than 1,000 homes have been completely destroyed, director Gamini Hettiarachchi said. He said 16 people were killed in flood-related incidents.

Heavy showers also damaged the roof of the country’s parliament, while parts of the main Galle Road in Colombo were washed out, police said.

Schools in Colombo were closed on Thursday and Friday as approach roads to the capital were submerged.

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.