Lanka floods: Toll mounts to 200 even as water recedes

RSTV Bureau
Sri Lanka : This Sunday, May 28, 2017 handout photo released by Sri Lanka Air Force shows houses submerged in floodwaters in Sri Lanka. Helicopters searched for people still marooned after rain-triggered floods and mudslides inundated villages last Thursday, killing more than 150 and leaving at least 100 others missing, officials say. AP/PTI

Sri Lanka : This Sunday, May 28, 2017 handout photo released by Sri Lanka Air Force shows houses submerged in floodwaters in Sri Lanka. Helicopters searched for people still marooned after rain-triggered floods and mudslides inundated villages last Thursday, killing more than 150 and leaving at least 100 others missing, officials say. AP/PTThe death toll has crossed 200 in the Sri Lankan floods, the worst deluge the country witnessed since 2003. The toll could further climb as about 94 people are still missing.

According to reports, half a million people have been displaced and more than 7,500 houses have been damaged.

Water levels seem to be receding and the weather is said to be clearing.

“There was a good news on the receding water levels in rivers during the past 24 hours due to the low rainfall that ended at 3.30 pm,” the Irrigation Department said.

As the weather cleared, several thousand people who were evacuated over the weekend, returned home to clear debris and mud from their waterlogged homes. More than 80,000 others remained in relief camps as their homes were either destroyed or wiped out.

Director (Hydrology) P Hettiarachchi said the water levels in the Kalu Ganga and the Gin Ganga were decreasing.

The two rivers overflowing was the main reason for severe flooding more particularly in the southern Galle and Kalutara districts.

The government began efforts to purify wells and other potable water sources which were contaminated by the floods.

Sri Lanka had sought international assistance and India had sent three naval ships laden with supplies in the last a couple of days. Indian naval divers and medical teams joined in the rescue efforts in the flood-hit regions.

Kiribathgala : Sri Lankan soldiers dig earth during rescue efforts in Kiribathgala, in Ratnapura district, Sri Lanka, Monday, May 29, 2017. Kiribathgala Hill known for its gems and precious stones came crashing down last Thursday covering eight houses with their 18 inhabitants. Soldiers have recovered more than a dozen dead bodies on Monday. AP/PTI

Kiribathgala : Sri Lankan soldiers dig earth during rescue efforts in Kiribathgala, in Ratnapura district, Sri Lanka, Monday, May 29, 2017. Kiribathgala Hill known for its gems and precious stones came crashing down last Thursday covering eight houses with their 18 inhabitants. Soldiers have recovered more than a dozen dead bodies on Monday. AP/PTI

The Indian contingent comprised of more than 300 navy personnel.

India’s INS ‘Shardul’ had nearly 200 personnel on board, including specialised rescue, diving and medical teams, as well as a large amount of relief material and Gemini inflatable boats. INS ‘Kirch’ was carrying 125 personnel with more diving teams and relief supplies.

A third Indian naval ship arrived on Wednesday, which brought relief supplies including rice, lentils, sugar, milk and blankets for the displaced.

Several other countries also promised to help Sri Lanka to deal with the crisis. Pakistan and China will be sending relief ships and Australia said it would provide 500,000 dollars as aid.

(With inputs from agencies)