Sri Lanka recalls assembly as flood toll nears 100

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Speaker Karu Jayasuriya ordered parliament to reconvene a week ahead of schedule to discuss the worst flooding in 24 years, as the weather-related death toll neared 100.

The Speaker asked legislators to attend a special session on Wednesday to discuss the rains that affected 22 out of the 25 districts and drove over 500,000 people from their homes.

"All members of parliament are invited to participate in the special session on May 25 to discuss the weather-related disaster," he said in a statement. The assembly was originally due to reconvene on June 7.

The early summoning of the assembly came as the official Disaster Management Centre said 92 people were confirmed killed in landslides and floods caused by heavy rains across most parts of the country last week.

The DMC said a further 109 people were still listed as missing in the central district of Kegalle where two villages were wiped out in a deadly landslide on Tuesday.

Troops were continuing a search for the missing people, the DMC said.

Floodwaters were receding in the capital Colombo, but nearly a sixth of the capital’s population remain in state-run temporary shelters as their homes remained flooded, official DMC figures showed.

President Maithripala Sirisena visited centres in Colombo on Sunday where residents from low-lying parts of the capital were still staying in public buildings such as schools.

Soldiers and relief workers were seen distributing essential supplies in shelters after the rain-swollen Kelani river, which runs through Colombo, burst its banks last week.

Floodwaters from Kelani were contaminated with garbage from a dump on the edge of Colombo as well as raw sewage, raising concerns of a disease outbreak, officials said.





Doctors and nurses were seen at shelters on Monday, while mobile medical units were also seen on the roads of the capital.

Sri Lanka has received international aid, with Australia, India, Japan, Pakistan and the United States among the first to send emergency relief.

Rain has eased since Cyclone Roanu moved away from Sri Lanka to hit southern Bangladesh on Saturday, leaving at least 24 people dead there, before weakening.
(COLOMBO, May 23, 2016)


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