Sri Lankan capital, suburbs hit by floods

Heavy rains hit Colombo and surrounding areas, interrupting power supply.

Colombo: More than 36,000 families were affected by floods on Thursday as heavy rains hit Sri Lanka`s capital and surrounding areas, interrupting the power supply, a government spokesman said.

"We have received the highest rainfall in 18 years in Colombo," the spokesman said.

It received more than 400 mm of rain overnight, Sri Lankan news reports said.

Eleven emergency shelters have been erected to accommodate displaced people while rescue boats have been sent to some of the areas to those marooned, the spokesman said.

Weather forecasters said the rains were likely to continue.

The Parliament building, located in the suburbs, was also flooded. Lawmakers and staff had to be transported to the building by the military, and Thursday`s session has been postponed.

The government closed down schools and granted permission to public servants to stay away from work while private businesses were short-staffed as people struggled to reach work.