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* Over 500,000 people affected by floods in Sri Lanka, death toll rises to 20
Thu, May 20, 2010, 10:02 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 20, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Center has reported that 513,586 from 118,888 families have been have been affected and 20 people have died by this evening due to the devastating floods caused by incessant torrential rain.

The Minister of Disaster Management A.H.M. Fowzie said today that the Government has taken immediate measures to provide relief to them and set up 81 disaster relief centers for homeless families.

The Minister said the flood victims are provided with cooked meals and the government in coordination with the World Food Programme has arranged to provide victims with dry rations.

He pointed out the immediate need to take action on the flood-borne health issues in the urban and suburban areas.

The most affected were the districts of the Western Province where 65,823 people from 15,809 families in the Kalutara district, 154,121 persons from 34,535 families in Colombo district and 194,770 people from 47,303 families in Gampaha district have been affected. Seven of the deaths have been reported from the Gampaha district.

A United Nation assessment team visited the flood affected areas in Kalutara district in today to evaluate the situation. The team visited the Gampaha district yesterday and met the relevant officials to coordinate relief efforts.

However, there will be no respite from the downpours yet according to the Meteorology Department. Rainy weather conditions developed due to a depression in the lower atmosphere over the island will continue tomorrow as well, the Met Department said. The prevailing unusual weather pattern is caused by the activation of the South-Western monsoon period on top of the feeder bands of Cyclone Leila moving over the island, it said.

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