Floods in Sri Lanka kill 7; displace 98,000

Sunday, November 30, 2008

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Floods caused by days of heavy rains killed at least seven people, left four soldiers missing and displaced tens of thousands in insurgency-ravaged northern Sri Lanka, officials said Saturday.

Keerthi Ekanayake of the Disaster Management Center said the northern Jaffna peninsula and the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts were inundated and nearly 8,000 houses have been destroyed.

Seven people were confirmed dead and more than 88,000 were displaced in the north alone, Ekanayake said.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the northern region had already been displaced by fighting between government troops and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels and are living in temporary huts.

An additional 10,000 people have become homeless because of the floods in the rest of Sri Lanka, Ekanayake said.

The government plans to send emergency aid and shelter materials, Disaster Management minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said.

Aid agencies were evicted from rebel-held territory in September by the government, which said it could not guarantee their security amid the fighting.

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