Lanka floods: Rescue efforts on as death toll rises to 164
Colombo, May 29 (PTI) Sri Lanka Rescue teams eliminate more bodies buried in mudslides triggered by the country ‘s strongest torrential rains in 14 years, bringing the total deaths to 164.
The Disaster Management Center (DMC) said 104 people are still missing, while 88 remain in the hospital. Incessant rains since Thursday night have carried nearly half a million people into their flooded homes in parts of the south and west.
Police said a Sri Lankan Air Force helicopter (SLAF) MI-17 carrying aid for flood victims crashed in the southern district of Galle, the worst of the 14 districts due to flooding and earth mud In rainy monsoonal operations in affected areas in execution.
There were no casualties and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena phoned the squadron, Bhanuka Delgoda, the MI-17 helicopter pilot to congratulate him on his courage.
The driver lost control of the helicopter due to bad weather and crashed in the forest, police said.
On Saturday, a soldier from Lanka Air, M Yaparatne, 37, died during rescue operations in the Galle district when he fell from the helicopter.
More rain is expected over the next two days, while the depression in the center of the Bay of Bengal has intensified in a MORA storm and now hurries to the island, he said.
The waters recede in the most affected districts of Ratnapura and Kalutara, but authorities said the cleanup could take weeks.
Some 412 houses have been completely damaged and more than 4,200 houses suffered partial damage. Some 471,000 people remain displaced, while more than 75,000 people are currently in more than 330 temporary housing.
After the Indians took the emergency room in Sri Lanka, more countries began to provide relief to relieve flood victims.
China should donate relief items worth 2.2 million dollars.
Assistance products to send to Colombo by letter include tents, blankets, sheets, rain boots and life jackets.
The second relief ship of India, INS Shardul arrived yesterday in the port of Colombo. It has about 200 people on board, including special rescue equipment, diving and medicine, and a large amount of aid materials and inflatable Gemini boats.
The first ship, INS Kirch, arrived in Colombo on May 27 The 40 tons of aid materials aboard the INS Shardul include rice, flour, dal, sugar, bedding, blankets, durries, raincoats, milk, Cookies, etc.
Rescue, diving and medical teams will work in coordination with the Sri Lankan Navy and other authorities, and are now deployed in the most affected areas, especially Ratnapura and Horana.
A third ship from the Indian Navy INS Jalashwa, with additional relief materials should soon arrive in Colombo.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang sent condolences to President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe respectively on the loss of lives and property in the floods and landslides caused by heavy rains.
Flooding is the worst since May 2003, when 250 people died and 10,000 homes were destroyed after a similar southwest monsoon, officials said.
Sri Lanka, which has been heavily deforested for cash crops, often bears witness to landslides during the monsoon season.