Thousands affected by flash floods in Lanka

Over 13,000 families impacted in Tamil-majority areas

Nearly 50,000 people have been affected by recent flash floods in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, the Disaster Management Centre said on Sunday.

Following sudden, heavy showers last week, flash floods hit parts of Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna districts. Over 13,000 families in the Tamil-majority area have been impacted, authorities said.

Kilinochchi district, which was the de facto capital of the rebel LTTE, and Mullaitivu — which in May 2009 witnessed the brutal military end to the island’s civil war — are among the worst-affected areas.

“Search and rescue teams have been mobilised with boats. As many as 670 military and police officials have been deployed.

Many of stranded families have been sent to safety centres,” according to an official situation report at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Kilinochchi badly hit

According to Suntharam Arumainayaham, Kilinochchi Government Agent (the GA corresponds to the district collector in India), some 2,500 families in the district, displaced in the floods, are currently staying at 22 welfare centres.

“Water is gradually receding today [Sunday] after some respite from the heavy rain. But it will take a few days for the people to return to their homes. Many houses have been damaged, we will need additional medical care and sanitation facilities, we are looking into all that now,” he told The Hindu.

While several districts in Sri Lanka have experienced extreme weather in the last couple of years, Kilinochchi, in particular, has borne the brunt of wavering and severe climatic conditions.

A key centre for paddy cultivation, this district witnessed one of the country’s harshest droughts in 2013-14.

Falling production and poverty pushed many farmers and their families to resort to micro-finance loans that ended up trapping them in massive debts. And now, it is one of the worst-affected areas in the flash floods.

“In fact, we were giving drought relief to our people even days before the flood suddenly hit us,” Mr. Arumainayaham said.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 12:50:18 PM |

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