Sri Lanka steps up relief efforts as death toll exceeds 150

Nick Mcbride
June 3, 2017

The worst flooding in 14 years was brought on by monsoon rains across southwestern portions of the country, according to Sri Lanka's Ministry of Disaster Management.

The Indian Navy's relief work in Sri Lanka' s flood affected areas has been going on in full swing and the Indian Navy was seen distributing relief material to the victims of the catastrophe.

It has almost 200 personnel on board, including specialized rescue, diving and medical teams, as well as a large amount of relief material and Gemini inflatable boats.

Water supply minister Rauf Hakeem said 40 percent of those affected had no access to piped drinking water, and there was an urgent need to purify contaminated wells in flood-hit areas.

Bojan Kolundzija, Oxfam's country director in Sri Lanka, said much more support was needed.

On Saturday, an Indian naval ship arrived in Colombo with medical teams and relief supplies. Sri Lanka has already asked for assistance from United Nations and neighbouring countries.

Civilians and relief officials, sailing in boats, distributed food, water, and relief items.

The government has deployed nearly 2,000 military personnel to affected areas.

Some 412 houses were fully damaged with over 4,200 houses suffering partial damage.

But the government's relief programme, which was stepped up during a break in heavy rains over the weekend, could be put back by more downfalls on Monday and Tuesday.

The Chinese government has pledged to send US$ 2.2 million worth of aid supplies to Sri Lanka. Some 471,000 people remain displaced while over 75,000 people are now being housed in over 330 temporary relief accommodation.

Apart from the aforementioned two ships, INS Jalashwa carrying victualing, clothing, medicines and water is also expected to soon reach Sri Lanka.

Water levels in Ratnapura, the gem-mining district east of Colombo, had subsided, but many villages in Kalutara south of the capital were still under water, said officials.

"The forecast for the next two days is also heavy raining, so the numbers [of people affected] ... may increase in a couple of days time", he said.

People residing in low-lying areas towards southern Sri Lanka were advised to evacuate due to the threat of rivers overflowing as the Meteorology Department on Monday warned of more rains followed by strong winds.

Other reports by VgToday

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