External Affairs

Sri Lankan President Blames Lack of Flood Prevention Plans for Disaster

A Sri Lanka navy rescue team use a boat on a flooded road in Kaduwela, Sri Lanka May 20, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte

A Sri Lanka navy rescue team use a boat on a flooded road in Kaduwela, Sri Lanka May 20, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Colombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday blamed lack of prevention measures for the recent floods that claimed over 200 lives in the country’s worst torrential rains since 2003.

Speaking in the southern town of Galle, Sirisena lamented that flood prevention plans laid had not been implemented in the country.

“People who oppose prevention plans are the ones who cry hoarse when the floods occur,” Sirisena said.

The death toll in Sri Lanka’s floods rose to 203, with 94 people still missing.

The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said at least 629,742 people of 163,701 families had been affected by the bad weather.

The DMC said 1,505 houses had been fully damaged while 7,617 houses were partially damaged due to the floods and landslides. Around 77, 432 people have been displaced.

The two rivers overflowing was the main reason for severe flooding more particularly in the southern Galle and Kalutara districts.

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.

INS Shardul has nearly 200 personnel on board, including specialised rescue, diving and medical teams, as well as a large amount of relief material and Gemini inflatable boats.

INS Kirch was carrying 125 personnel. It had diving teams, relief supplies, inflatable gemini boats and a mobile medical teams.

A third Indian naval ship arrived yesterday, bringing relief supplies including rice, lentils, sugar, milk and blankets for the displaced.

Following India’s lead in early response to Sri Lanka flood disaster, more international aid has been pouring into the country, officials said.

Sri Lankan Navy said three ships from China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy) arrived at the Colombo Port yesterday to assist ongoing relief operations.

The three PLA Navy ships which were on a goodwill visit, subsequently focused their intentions on relief efforts to help the general public affected by inclement weather.

Japan Disaster Relief (JDR) Expert Team is to leave for Sri Lanka on June 2. “Upon the request of the Government of Sri Lanka, and in light of the friendly relations between Japan and Sri Lanka, Japan decided to provide emergency assistance to Sri Lanka to meet its humanitarian needs,” a statement said.

South Korea has decided to provide humanitarian assistance worth of $300,000 in the form of relief goods such as family tents, blankets and tarpaulins, which will be delivered as soon as possible.

The Maldives said foreign affairs minister Mohamed Asim in his capacity as the special envoy of the president of Maldives met with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ravi Karunanayake to discuss assistance to Sri Lanka.