Over one million affected by Sri Lanka drought

Colombo, Jan 21 (IANS) Over one million people have been affected by severe drought in Sri Lanka with authorities warning the numbers could rise in the coming weeks due to less rainfall.

Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre said 18 districts have been affected and rescue teams were distributing drinking and clean water to the people, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to statistics, 1,041,690 people and 251,310 families have been affected by the drought.

President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday requested all private institutions to limit the use of power by switching off lights that are used for advertising and decoration purposes in their respective institutions.

The President said the country will have to face a power crisis in the future due to the drought situation and therefore it is the responsibility of all to use power in an economical manner from now.

He requested everyone to support the initiative of frugal use of power until the effects of the drought are over.

The National Water Supply and Drainage Board also warned the public to refrain from using the water from the Kalu Ganga, one of the largest rivers in Sri Lanka, for drinking water purposes citing that sea water had mixed with the river water due to the prevalent drought.

Sri Lanka’s former war torn north has also been severely affected by the drought, Disaster Management officials said.