Death toll rises to 26 in flood fury

[TamilNet, Friday, 21 May 2010, 10:26 GMT]
The death toll in the ongoing flood fury in the island of Sri Lanka has risen to 26 by early Friday and the persons affected to nearly 550,000, as several rivers continued to swell to near busting point with officials warning of mass-scale flooding and urged the immediate evacuation of those living close to these water ways.

According to officials most of those killed were drowned in swirling flood waters while some of the victims had been electrocuted or washed away in their vehicles.

They added that the water levels had risen sharply in the Kelaniya River that flows through much of the metropolis, and the Nilwala and Kalu Ganga rivers in the south of the country.

Earlier, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered the evacuation of those living along side canal banks fearing that they could get caught up in the rising water levels.

At present the worst affected is the districts of Gampaha in the western province and Kalutara in the south, they said.

The affected persons are currently being housed in government buildings, schools and places of worship they said.

Meanwhile Jayasinghe Arachchi a senior official with the Sri Lankan Meteorology Department warned of more showers accompanied with strong gusts of winds in most of the already affected areas sometime late today and the following day.

“A Wind Stream packing winds of between 15 to 20 knots had converged on the country Friday from the western coast, triggering of more showers that will be experienced in several parts of the country”, he said.

The wind stream is expected to remain over the country for the next 12 hours or so, causing heavy showers in the Western, Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces and extending to the Galle district, Mr. jayasinghe further added.


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