Sri Lanka flood victims storm govt office over aid

Hundreds of Sri Lankan flood victims stormed a government office in one of the hardest-hit areas on Monday to demand that aid be distributed, police said.

Sri Lanka flood victims storm govt office over aid

Hundreds of Sri Lankan flood victims stormed a government office in one of the hardest-hit areas on Monday to demand that aid be distributed, police said.

Heavy monsoon rains caused flooding across the island nation last week, killing at least 40 people, leaving 51,400 people in temporary shelters and threatening Sri Lanka's staple rice crop.

Anger over the distribution of relief spilled over in Ariyampathi, near the eastern port of Batticaloa. "Some angry people who claimed that they haven't received flood relief properly forced their way into the divisional secretariat's office," police spokesman Prishanth Jayakody said.

Police rushed to the scene and the crowd left after officials promised to deliver the aid, he said. He declined to say how many people were involved or whether anyone was injured.

An officer at the scene told Reuters on condition of anonymity that hundreds stormed the office and that a few people received minor injuries.

The rains set off mudslides, burst hundreds of dams and reservoirs and temporarily forced as many as 325,000 people from their homes in the Northern, Eastern, Central and North Central provinces, the national Disaster Management Centre said.

The United Nations' deputy head of emergency relief is due to visit Sri Lanka this week to coordinate aid efforts and appeal for funds to help clean up after the flooding.

The Agricultural Ministry has said that at least 21 percent of Sri Lanka's rice crop was destroyed, raising concerns of supply shocks and higher food inflation just as the central bank lowered lending rates to spur economic growth.

Sri Lanka has maintained low inflation since May 2009, when a three-decade war with the Tamil Tiger separatists ended, mainly due to the higher supply coming from the Northern and Eastern Provinces where the fighting took place.

Flooding and displacements are common in Sri Lanka, where a southern monsoon batters the island between May and September, and a northeastern monsoon runs from December to February.


Reuters

Last Mod: 18 Ocak 2011, 11:06
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