Sri Lanka: Armoured vehicles on flooded streets, Indian Navy sends ships for rescue | In picsworld Updated: May 28, 2017 09:29 IST
Sri Lankan soldiers evacuate flood victims in Wehangalla village in Kalutara district, Sri Lanka.(AP Photo)
The number of people known to have been killed in floods and landslides in Sri Lanka rose to 122, officials said on Saturday, as the country appealed for international assistance.
The state-run disaster management centre said 97 people were still missing after the worst torrential rains since 2003.
The foreign ministry said that in coordination with the disaster management ministry, an appeal had been made to the United Nations and neighbouring countries to provide assistance “especially in the areas of search and rescue operations”.
India is sending three Navy ships with supplies and other aid, the first of which arrived in Colombo on Saturday.
A naval spokesperson said INS Shardul was dispatched from Southern Naval Command in Kochi. The ship, which set sail on Satuday, is carrying relief materials such as food, water and medicines, and a team of doctors and assistants for medical aid, he said.
The ship has on board diving teams along with rubber inflatable craft to evacuate persons in flood affected areas.
Equipped with a Chetak helicopter, the ship is also capable of undertaking search and rescue mission by air.
Officials said deaths were reported from the western coastal district of Kalutara, the central southern district of Ratnapura and the southern district of Matara.
Sri Lankan military and rescue teams have used boats and helicopters, but officials said access to some areas was very difficult.
The early rainy season downpours have forced many families from their homes and affected over 415,618 people across the nation.
Police spokesperson Priyantha Jayakody said multiple landslides were reported in Kalutara, Ratnapura and Matara.
Military spokesperson Roshan Senevirathne said more than 2,000 military personnel had been deployed to help the police and civilian agencies.
The wettest time of the year in Sri Lanka’s south is usually from May to September.
The island nation also gets heavy rains in the North West monsoon season from November to February.
Sri Lankan meteorology officials said Thursday’s rains were the worst since 2003 and they expected more in the coming days.