Threat of water-borne diseases loom as flood toll touches 40

Colombo, Jan 17 (PTI) The threat of water-bornediseases loomed for the thousands of people housed intemporary relief camps, even as the water levels receded fromthe devastating flooding in Sri Lanka that has killed at least40 people in last several days.

The total number of people killed rose to 40 while 4others were still unaccounted for, according to the SriLanka''s Disaster Management Centre.

Health authorities cautioned the public on water bornediseases in flood-hit areas.

Thousands of people have begun returning home afterflood waters receded while more than 50,000 people stillremain at 137 camps, the DRC said today in its daily situationupdate.

More than 27,000 houses were damaged or partiallydamaged during the flood, forcing the victims to stay incamps, officials said.

Amid warnings of water borne diseases in the flood-hitareas, health ministry officials said so far there was noreported cases of spread of such disease.

Meanwhile at least three government officials wereassaulted when a group of flood victims stormed a divisionalsecretariat building in the eastern part of the country,including the Batticaloa district, alleging misappropriationof flood relief supplies.

Once the battle field of the Sri Lankan war, theeastern province was the worst affected during the floodsthat affected more than a million people.

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

Sri Lankan officials earlier said the damage caused tothe infrastructure and facilities was only second to thetsunami catastrophe in 2004 which claimed more than 30,000lives.

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

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