ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 22

Lanka under water

Deluge hits ten districts: 13 killed, 225,000 homeless

By Chris Kamalendran

At least thirteen people, including an eight-year-old child, have died and more than 225,000 rendered homeless in one of the worst-ever floods swirling across ten districts in the country since Thursday night.

The worst hit are the Gampaha and Kalutara districts while the districts of Colombo, Galle, Matara, Puttalam, Ratnapura, Badulla, Kegalle and Kurunegagla too have been severely affected.

Wading through the flood water towards a high and dry place

The deaths occurred in the districts of Kurunegala, Gampaha, Galle, Puttalam and Badulla with the eight-year-old child drowning at Wanathamulla in Borella yesterday.

While the floods have caused havoc in the North-western, Western and Southern provinces, landslides in the central provinces have resulted in some roads being made impassable and halted train services between Kandy and Matale. Bus services between Colombo and Nuwara Eliya have been re-routed through Hatton due to a landslide at Ramboda and the Nuwara Eliya District Secretary said at least two days would be needed to clear the area.

The Meteorology Department said yesterday that weather over the island was improving gradually. However, there would be showers in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, North-western and Northern provinces while thunder showers would develop in several places in Uva and Central provinces.

An Automobile Association spokesman said that in the districts of Gampaha and Kalutara almost all the roads except the main road were underwater. The situation was similar in the Galle and Matara districts as well.

Motorists are advised not to travel along the Colombo-Badulla as well as Gampola-Ramboda roads after 3 p.m due to poor visibility caused by mist, the AA said.

In Colombo city, many roads were flooded with the water level at the Nagalagam Street gauge registering 4.22 feet by 10 a.m. yesterday.

Explaining one of the main reasons for the unprecedented floods in the city, Disaster Management Centre Director Gamini Hettiarachchi said Colombo was getting flooded easily because most of the garbage was dumped into canals and they have got blocked as a result.

To clear the blocked canals a dredging programme is underway at the Kithampuwa canal at a cost of Rs 13 million. The centre also dispatched officers to Ratmalana, Timbirigasyaya, Kesbewa, Kolonnawa and Kotte to arrange further clearing of canals, the Centre said.

Wattala residents said the Hamilton canal running through the area also needed urgent dredging as hundreds of homes were flooded due to the overflowing of the canal.

Flood water cuts off road to airport

The Colombo-Negombo main road was under water at Ambalanmulla in Seeduwa early this morning, cutting off access to the airport. More than 200 vehicles were stranded on the main road for hours as the road went under water.

A spokesman for the Sri Lankan Airlines told The Sunday Times last night that at least 150 passengers had missed their flights and had sought fresh bookings.

Sri Lankan Airlines cancelled its Kuala Lampur bound flight and delayed three of its flights scheduled for this morning.
Flights were also delayed as the airline crew members could not come on time due to floods.

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.