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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 December, 2004, 15:43 GMT
Five die in Sri Lankan flooding
Flood scene in Batticaloa
Flooding in Batticaloa: more than 500,000 are affected nationwide
At least five people have been killed following torrential rains and flooding in Sri Lanka.

More than half a million people have been affected in the north and east of the country.

Many homes have been destroyed and people have been forced to take shelter in schools and temples.

The government has released $40,000 to provide emergency relief but distribution has been hampered by roads cut off by floodwater.


Four members of one family died in Badulla, 230km (143 miles) east of Colombo in a landslide late on Tuesday, Disaster Management Centre assistant director Janaka Gunawardena told Associated Press.

Also on Tuesday a policeman was swept from a bridge and drowned in the eastern district of Ampara, while other reports said a child also drowned in the east of the country.

The BBC's Dumeetha Luthra in Colombo says vast areas of farmland have been submerged, and power and telephone lines have been cut in some areas.

The social services ministry, which is dealing with the crisis, says it has asked the government for a further $400,000 to deal with the situation.

One badly affected area is Polonnaruwa in the country's northern cultural triangle, where more than 2,000 people have been evacuated as a centuries-old reservoir is spilling over.

The main road linking Wanni, held by the Tamil Tiger rebels, with the rest of the country was also reported to be damaged in several places.

The nation's meteorology department says there will be more rain in the next few days but that the worst appears to be over.

Thousands flee Sri Lanka floods
14 Dec 04 |  South Asia
Floods hit Sri Lankan industries
27 May 03 |  Business
Sri Lanka counts cost of floods
23 May 03 |  South Asia
In pictures: Sri Lanka flooding
22 May 03 |  Photo Gallery

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