Floods from heavy rain paralyze parts of Sri Lanka's capital

Floods from heavy rain paralyzed parts of Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, on Tuesday, stranding thousands of office staff at home and on streets with waist-deep water at some road intersections. Police have reported no casualties. Police spokesman Rienzie Perera said most roads connecting Colombo with the rest of Sri Lanka were under water, causing widespread traffic jams.

"There is water everywhere and I am stranded here," said Lalith Weeratunga, secretary to President Mahinda Rajapakse, from his home in suburban Colombo.

"Flash floods have occurred in some areas, but the situation should improve," said Meteorological Department chief G.H.P. Dharmaratna, predicting that the intensity of the rain will reduce.

He said Colombo and surrounding areas had received 177.6 millimeters (6.99 inches) of rain in the past 20 hours. "All my grandchildren are at home because the school bus did not come and it is risky to go out," said Sumana Gamage, as she, with the help of her family, tried to clean drains in front of her house in a Colombo district.

Sri Lanka is a tropical island nation off India's southern coast, reports the AP. I.L.

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