Colombo/New Delhi: An Indian Navy ship with relief materials reached Colombo on Saturday as the death toll from the worst floods since 2003 in Sri Lanka climbed to 100 and authorities warned of more rains.
The disaster management centre issued an urgent evacuation warning for residents living along the Kelani River and within the Divisional Secretariats of Kollonnawa, Kaduwela, Wellampitiya, Kelaniya, Biyagama, Sedawatte, Dompe, Hanwella, Padukka and Avissawella.
At least 200,382 people belonging to 52,603 families were affected in 14 districts. Further, 12,007 people belonging to 2,937 families were relocated to 69 safe locations as of Saturday morning, it said.
The death toll rose to 100 while 99 others were missing, it said.
Sri Lanka’s tri-forces personnel including more than 1,000 Army troops were engaged in the rescue and relief operations.
A Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) airman died after falling from a helicopter during a flood rescue operation in Neluwa area in Galle.
The Meteorology Department said that rain and windy conditions are expected to continue.
“Showers or thundershowers will occur at times in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Central and North-western provinces,” it said.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in coordination with the Ministry of Disaster Management, appealed to the United Nations, International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) and neighbouring countries to provide assistance to affected people, especially in the areas of search and rescue operations.
India in response dispatched three Navy ships with emergency supplies to help Sri Lanka in the rescue and relief operations.
INS Kirch diverted to Colombo to render immediate assistance in flood relief operations, arrived in Colombo Port on Saturday. Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu handed over the relief items brought by INS Kirch to foreign minister Ravi Karunanayake.
Two more Indian Navy ships — INS Shardul and INS Jalashwa — have also left for Sri Lanka with relief materials including food, medicines and water.
Medical and diving teams along with boats and helicopters are also being sent on board INS Jalashwa to assist Sri Lanka in rescuing people from flood-hit area, Indian Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma said.
The flooding is the worst since May 2003 when 250 people were killed and 10,000 homes destroyed after a similarly powerful Southwest monsoon, officials said.
Sri Lanka, which has been heavily deforested for cash crops, often witnesses landslides during the monsoon season.
Last year, more than 100 people were killed in a massive landslide in the country.