Sri Lanka drought ends after seeking divine help
Rains accompanied by strong winds lashed several regions of Polonnaruwa, one of the worst affected districts, a local resident contacted by telephone said adding that they believed the worst was over.
"It has been raining for several hours," local resident Thakshila Jayasekara said. She said Buddhist monks had also organised a ritual on the bank of a dry irrigation reservoir in the region Tuesday seeking rain.
There was no immediate word from the meteorological office here and officials said heavy rains had cut off power lines and telephones in the areas which were stricken by the drought till Wednesday afternoon.
Millions of people had been made destitute by the drought.
A Buddhist voluntary organisation, the Shanthi Foundation, said it arranged a military helicopter to spray the blessed water over the north-central and eastern regions which were in the grip of a severe drought.
"The water was blessed by Buddhist monks who chanted special stanzas that will encourage rain," a spokesman for the foundation said.
He said they received backing from Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse for the spiritual initiative amid moves by the government to offer food and drinking water to millions affected by the drought.
aj/dk AFP 011455 GMT 09 04
Copyright (c) 2004 Agence France-Presse
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 09/01/2004 10:57:28
©AFP: The information provided in this product is for personal use only. None of it may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the express permission of Agence France-Presse.