Thousands displaced by Sri Lanka floods to get UN help

A flooded road in Batticaloa, eastern Sri Lanka The floods have been the worst to hit eastern Sri Lanka for several years

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The World Food Programme (WFP) says it will provide emergency food assistance to flood affected people in Sri Lanka.

Nearly 8,000 houses were damaged by the latest wave of the floods caused by heavy rains and about 70,000 people are now being housed in emergency relief camps.

Authorities say at least 16 people were killed during the last two weeks.

The government says the military used helicopters to airdrop dry rations to flood-affected people in Batticaloa, one of the worst hit districts.

The WFP said in a statement that it is to provide food assistance worth 55m rupees ($0.5m or £0.32m) to 400,000 flood affected people in the east.

Sri Lanka Air Force helicopters already rescued 46 persons including a pregnant woman from Batticaloa district, the defence ministry said in a statement.

The government says that the army has deployed over 1,000 troops to help the flood relief effort, while the navy has dispatched boats to rescue people in the worst affected areas in central and eastern Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's two monsoon seasons begin in May and December.

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