50 wild elephants killed in Sri Lanka floods

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Colombo, Jan 16 (PTI) Some 50 wild elephants have beenkilled due to the devastating Sri Lankan floods, which hasdisplaced over a million people, according to the country''sWildlife Conservation Department.

Chandrawansa Pathiraja, the Director General of SriLanka Wildlife Conservation Department, said around 50 wildelephants have been reported killed due to floods.

He was quoted a saying by the ColomboPage online thata survey has been commenced in wildlife parks to ascertain theexact number of deaths of the wild elephants and otheranimals.

Local media recently published photos of a corpse of ababy elephant that was stuck between tree branches when it waswashed away in floods.

Several wild animals also believed to have beenperished due to floods.

Floods severely affected Lahugala, Somawathi,Maduruoya, Kumana and Kavudulla wildlife parks.

A large number of cattle have also been reportedkilled due to masssive floods.

United Nations Office for the Coordination ofHumanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that livestock losseswill be significant, particularly in Batticaloa district, thereport said. The UN agency reported that 48,679 cattle, 22,279goats, and 172,884 poultry have been lost.

More than a million people have been affected by theflooding in Sri Lanka and at least 37 have died over a week ofdevastation that has severely hit the centre and east of thecountry, including areas already destroyed by a three-decadecivil war that ended in 2009.

Now the threat of water-borne diseases loomed withwater levels receding after the devastation caused by themonsoon floods.

A large number of those displaced were those who hadonly recently been resettled after decades of ethnic conflictbetween Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces.

Both local and international aid agencies said thewater levels were rapidly going down with many people able togo back to their homes to assess the damage.

The authorities are yet to assess the extent ofdamage, but officials said vast tracks of rice and vegetablefarms were destroyed and livestock also badly affected.

UN agencies in the capital plan to issue aninternational appeal for funding as providing relief for thosein the worst affected areas was becoming a serious challenge.

India responded quickly to Sri Lanka''s call forassistance by sending a consignment of relief supply by anspecial air craft.

Army, Navy and Air Force personnel are working roundthe clock to provide water, food and shelter on a prioritybasis to all flood victims. PTI

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