Sri Lanka floods threatens rice crop

  @Gooch700 on January 13 2011 12:00 PM

While much of the world’s attention has been glued to the flooding in northeastern Australia, the South Asian country of Sri Lanka is also coping with a similar natural disaster.

Heavy monsoons and resultant floods have affected nearly 1-million people in the north central and eastern provinces of the island nation and have killed at least two dozen people. It is believed that more than 300,000 people have been displaced from their homes.

The government has dispatched 30,000 soldiers to rescue flood victims and deliver food and supplies.

More than one million people have been affected by the floods, said UN children's fund spokesman Mervyn Fletcher to the BBC. That means they have either been forced from their homes or have seen their property flooded. Access to clean water is becoming a major problem and we and other agencies are distributing purification tablets.

The nation’s Agricultural Ministry reported that at least 21 percent (or 570,000 hectares) of the country's staple rice crop has been destroyed, raising fears of higher food prices and shortages.

Mahinda Amaraweera, the country’s disaster management minister said the flood is second only to the 2004 tsunami in terms of impact.

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