With a total of 422,299 persons (114,124 families) affected by inclement weather, 101,638 persons (24,603 families) are living in 319 temporary shelters, according to Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Center, the central body coordinating relief operations.
The worst affected area is the southwestern district of Ratnapura, with 71 deaths and over 69,000 affected persons, followed by Kalutara, with 43 deaths and 78,933 affected persons and Matara in the island’s south, with 14 deaths and 85,969 flood-affected persons.
Following what is recorded as the worst rains experienced since 2003, Sri Lanka reached out to the international community seeking assistance in rescue operations, with the first responders being neighbouring India and Pakistan.
While both countries sent immediate flood relief, the Indian Navy is also engaged in rescue operations led by a combined military team of over 2,000 personnel.
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.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Meteorological Department has predicted thunder showers in the coming days, and fresh warnings have been issued to people living close to the island’s main rivers to immediately evacuate.
In a statement, the United Nations office in Colombo said that in response to the government’s appeal, the UN agencies are currently supporting the relief efforts in coordination of and mobilizing resources. Accordingly, UNICEF has donated water containers, water purification tablets and tarpaulin sheets to be distributed among those affected while the World Health Organization is working in coordination with the island’s Ministry of Health in deploying medical teams in the affected districts, the statement added.
Sri Lanka experienced heavy rains last year too which caused massive landslides and floods that claimed over a hundred lives.