The after effects of Tropical Cyclone Mora, in the Bay of Bengal, is being felt across the flood and landslide affected areas.
International aid arrived into Sri Lanka on Wednesday as the death toll from the island’s worst floods and landslides in well over a decade climbed to 202.
Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake said 16 countries had rushed relief supplies and medicine to assist more than 600,000 people driven from their homes following Friday’s monsoon deluge.
“We also have a lot of enquiries from other countries and organisations wanting to know our immediate needs. We are moved by the spontaneous response,” Karunanayake told reporters in Colombo.
As flood waters recede and roads cleared, the Government continues to validate the number of affected people and casualties. As of 30 May, 604,700 people have been affected according to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC).
Confirmed casualties have increased to 202 deaths, 99 people remain missing and 83,200 people are displaced in 376 safe locations. In Rathnapura District alone, 43,000 displaced people are in 181 locations. About 1,400 houses have been destroyed and 7,070 houses partially damaged.
These figures are expected to fluctuate as additional information becomes available from the divisional secretariats.
Based on available information, at least 16 hospitals were evacuated fully or partially as facilities were directly affected by the floods or exposed to landslides according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Affected hospitals are evacuating critical patients with the support of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces.
Sri Lanka Armed Forces initially deployed more than 2,000 personnel and equipment to relief, help and rescue operations. More than 1500 Army personnel of 17 Battalions, including Commando, Special Forces, Mechanized Infantry, and Army medical personnel,30 Army boats and other machinery also were deployed by Sri Lanka Army for the rescue operations.
Sri Lanka Armed Force positioned their Mil Mi-17s, Bell 212s,Bell 412 helicopters and over 110 search and rescue teams comprising 776 naval personnel along with 116 relief boats to rescue the affected in all the areas. Further B200 Beachcraft was commissioned for continuous reconnaissance/observations over affected areas.
“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. Director (Hydrology) P Hettiarachchi said the water levels in the Kalu Ganga and the Gin Ganga was decreasing.
The two rivers overflowing was the main reason for severe flooding more particularly in the southern Galle and Kalutara districts.
Civil society and private individuals and organizations are actively engaged in the response with in-kind donations provided at set distribution points for delivery by military assets.
The Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management, a network linking private companies with humanitarian agencies and the Government, have supported authorities in aerial assessments, military rescue operations and the use of a local mobile-based taxi application to track people who need to be evacuated.
Sri Lanka had sought international assistance, with India sending three naval ships laden with supplies in the last a couple of days. India sent first ship INS Kirch with 40 tonnes of relief materials, second relief ship INS Shardul with specialized rescue, diving and medical teams and relief material and third ship INS Jalashwa with additional relief materials.
Indian naval divers and medical teams have joined rescue efforts in Lanka’s flood-hit regions. The Indian contingent of more than 300 navy personnel was assisting in the relief, with divers searching the brackish waters and medical teams seeing patients in makeshift tents set up at shelters.
Following India’s lead in sending out emergency relief to Sri Lanka, more countries started pledging assistance to provide relief to the flood victims.
International bilateral assistance continues to be provided to national partners.Japan announced donation of emergency relief goods (tents, plastic sheets, sleeping pads) through the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Australia will also release AUS$500,000 (US$372,400) to meet urgent needs identified by the Sri Lankan Government.
At least three Chinese ships will come a day after tomorrow. China sent relief items worth US$ 2.2 million.
Teams from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) have arrived in Sri Lanka to assess the situation in support of local partner organizations.
With an increasing number of displaced people and a lack of space in temporary shelters, many people are at risk of disease, the U.N said. Sri Lanka has seen a significant increase in mosquito-borne dengue fever this year, with more than 125 deaths.