Aid reaches Sri Lanka flood victims
Foreign aid has begun arriving in Sri Lanka, bringing help to half a million people who have been driven from their homes by heavy rains and deadly landslides, as floodwaters subsided slightly, officials said. The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said an Indian Air Force plane carrying emergency supplies had arrived in Colombo while two Indian naval ships were also expected at the port in the capital.
Floodwater levels in parts of the capital subsided a little overnight on Saturday, disaster officials said, but not enough for anyone to move back to their homes on the banks of the Kelani river. “Colombo did not receive any significant rain last night and the water levels of the Kelani went down slightly,” Disaster Management Centre (DMC) spokesperson Pradeep Kodippili said. “But there were showers upstream and we are worried that the water levels can rise again in a day.”
Three people have been killed in flood-related incidents in Colombo and the national toll stands at 64 dead and 29 injured.
The heaviest rains in a quarter of a century, caused by Cyclone Roanu, have pounded Sri Lanka since last weekend, triggering huge landslides that have buried some victims in up to 15 metres of mud.
Food, essentials taken to stranded residents The Indian Government has provided aid including inflatable boats, outboard motors, diving equipment, medical supplies, electricity generators, raincoats, umbrellas and sleeping bags, officials said. The Sri Lankan Navy and Air Force took stranded residents to safety as well as bringing food and other essentials for the few who remained in their homes. President Maithripala Sirisena urged Sri Lankans to provide shelter and donate cash or food as offers of assistance came in from overseas.