January 1, 2015 / 11:45 AM / 3 years ago

Flash floods, mudslides kill at least 39 in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Flash floods and mudslides in Sri Lanka have killed at least 39 people and more than 1 million have had to flee their homes in the past two weeks, data from the island's Disaster Management Center showed on Thursday.

At least another 20 people have been injured and two are still missing after torrential rain, mostly in central Sri Lanka, the data showed. Thousands of hectares of crops, mainly the food staple rice, have been destroyed in the agricultural heartland of the North Central and Eastern provinces.

In October, a landslide in a hilly tea plantation caused by heavy rains killed at least 16 people and left over 100 missing.

The October to January monsoon tends to bring heavier rains than the March to May season, but does not routinely cause landslides.

Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Ruth Pitchford

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