Sri Lankan Tamil flood victims load their belongings onto a boat in a flooded area in Batticaloa, about 220 killometres east of Colombo on Monday. ((Kailapillai Ruthiran/Associated Press))

Sri Lanka's government says five more people have died in widespread floods and mudslides, pushing the death toll to 18 from days of heavy rain.

The Disaster Management Centre in Colombo said nearly 200,000 people, mostly in Eastern Province, have lost their homes because of the flooding. Most are now living in camps.

It said most of the dead either drowned or were buried in mudslides. Schools in several affected provinces remain closed.

Bad weather forced President Mahinda Rajapaksa to abandon a trip Wednesday to survey the flood damage.