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* Update:Death toll reaches 17 in Sri Lanka storm, 33 missing
Sat, Nov 26, 2011, 09:38 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 26, Colombo: Heavy rains along with gusting winds that lashed the southern coastal areas of Sri Lanka Friday killed 17 people and left 33 fishermen missing, the National Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said today.

The DMC officials said 17 people have been confirmed dead and 30 fishermen who ventured out to sea are missing.

Another three people are missing in Monaragala and Anuradhapura districts after heavy rains overflowed reservoirs and streams.

The DMC figures as of this morning reported 33,957 people belonging to 8,359 families have been affected due to the adverse weather condition prevailing in the country.

Matara District of Southern coast has sustained the most damage from the gale force winds, the Assistant Director of DMC, Pradeep Kodipilli said.

According to the DMC, 8,980 people belonging to 1,796 families were affected in Matara district while 282 houses have been fully damaged and another 1,483 houses were partially damaged.

Electricity to the area is interrupted many roads are blocked due to fallen trees and other debris. Road cleaning and power line restorations are in progress, the DMC said.

In the hill country Badulla district roads were blocked due to landslides brought about by heavy rains. The National Building Research Organization (NBRO) are clearing the roads, the DMC reported.

In Monaragala, Anuradhapura and Batticaloa districts overflowing water reservoirs have forced the irrigation authorities to open sluice gates and warn the villagers of increasing water levels on streams.

Two people have drowned while trying to cross the overflowing streams.

In Ampara district flooding has affected 18,374 people from 4,875 families, mostly in Pottuvil area.

The government has deployed security forces to assist state officials to expedite relief efforts to the affected people in the Galle and Matara Districts, military spokesman Brigadier Nihal Hapuarachchi said.

The security forces are prepared to face any emergency situation that may arise in the country, due to prevailing weather condition, the spokesman said.

The Army had assisted in clearing many roads which were blocked due to toppled trees, while the Navy had assisted in evacuating people who were stranded due to floods with the use of navy boats, the national news agency reported.

Despite strong winds and rains, the Navy on Saturday has deployed Doras and divers to begin rescue missions to find 30 missing fishermen who went to sea on 24th November.

Army personnel have been deployed to the areas affected in Matara and Galle districts in order to provide relief measures during the emergency situation.

According to the Meteorology Department of Sri Lanka, rains and strong winds are expected to continue Saturday.

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