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Heavy rains trigger flooding in Sri Lanka

From Iqbal Athas, For CNN
  • The torrential rain lasted for 24 hours, official says
  • More than 500 homes reported damaged
  • Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- More than 200,000 people have been affected by flooding resulting from heavy rains in Sri Lanka, a disaster management official said Monday.

Heavy rains lasted from noon Sunday to about noon on Monday, said A.R. Jayarathne, assistant director of the country's Disaster Management Center.

Large tanks in the region, set up to irrigate rice paddy fields, overflowed, forcing authorities to open sluice gates, he said.

While no one had been forced from their homes, food waters had entered homes and caused minor damage in numerous locations, he said. At least 532 houses reported partial damage.

Some 2,915 people living in Internally Displaced Persons camps were also affected. The camps remain after the nation's opposition Tamil Tiger rebels were militarily defeated in May 2009.

A Buddhist temple, Somawathiya, located in the North Central Province capital of Polonnaruwa, was cut off after a nearby river overflowed, Jayarathne said. At least 40 people, including 20 soldiers, were stranded, but were not in danger, he said.