Asia Crisis

Sri Lanka seeks aid for thousands of flood survivors

COLOMBO, June 3 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan authorities appealed for canned food, drinking water and clothes on Tuesday for thousands of people forced from their homes because of flash floods in the west and south of the country.

At least 18 people have been killed in the floods triggered by torrential rains and 225,780 people have been affected, many sheltered in schools and temples.

"We have requested specially canned food such as canned fish and water, clothes for the flood affected people as an urgent need," said Keerthi Ekanayake, national coordinator at the National Disaster Management Centre.

More rains have been forecast in the next few days as the southwest monsoon season, which runs from May to September, hit the island nation.

The western districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Kaluthara, the southern districts of Galle and Mathara, and the gem mining district of Rathnapura have been affected so far, officials said.

In March more than 7,000 people were displaced from their homes in eastern Sri Lanka, included families living in camps because of renewed war between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels.

The infrastructure of Sri Lanka, with a population of 20 million, has long been neglected because of the protracted war between the state and Tamil Tigers, which has killed more than 70,000 people since 1983. (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)