Sri Lanka flooding and mudslides kill 146 and leave 112 missing

Cheryl Sanders
May 30, 2017

Meanwhile, the Red Cross Society of China also granted USA $ 100,000 emergency humanitarian cash assistance to the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society for their disaster relief efforts.

The official Disaster Management Center (DMC) said a total of 122 people were confirmed dead while 97 remained missing.

The charity Save the Children said about a tenth of those displaced were children below the age of five years.

Outbreaks of diseases such as dengue fever and cholera, and illnesses like diarrhea and dysentery, are often a threat in the aftermath of floods due to water-logging, say experts. With more than 100 people still missing and 80 reported injured, these have been Sri Lanka's worst rains since 2003, when rain lead to the deaths of 250 people. The state-run National Building Research Organization warned people in seven out of the country's 25 districts on Sunday to evacuate from unstable slopes if rains continued for the next 24 hours, The Guardian reported.

A source from the Indian High Commission in Colombo said Indian diving teams have joined the Sri Lankan rescue operations with rubber inflatable craft while the vessel's Chetak helicopter is capable of undertaking search and rescue mission by air.

The government said relief operations had intensified over the weekend following a break in the monsoon rains.

Flood waters were receding in the worst affected districts of Ratnapura and Kalutara but the authorities said cleaning up operations could take weeks.

Sri Lankan villagers cross a landslide site as military rescue workers and villagers search for survivors in Athweltota village in Kalutara.

"Strong winds about 80km/ph can be expected over the country (these wind conditions are especially expected over the western slope of the central hills) and surrounding sea areas", the Department said in its latest weather report for Monday. India, the first country to respond, dispatched three Navy ships with emergency supplies to help Sri Lanka. Almost 500,000 people have reportedly been displaced in the disaster.

The United Nations said it would donate water containers, water purification tablets and tarpaulins while the World Health Organisation will support medical teams in affected areas.

"Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake, who was present to receive the ship, said that we are grateful to India for sending relief at such a short notice so quickly".

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