India sends three Navy ships to assist Lanka in relief operations

A ship carrying medical supplies docked in Colombo today, sent by India to help deal with the worst flooding in the island's western and southern regions in 14 years after record rainfall.

The ship was received by Indian High Commissioner to Colombo Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

The Meteorology Department said that rain and windy conditions are expected to continue. As many as 38 deaths have been reported from Kalutara and 46 from Ratnapura.

Pakistan recently gave 10,000 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka to help drought victims.

Pursuant to Prime Minister's directions, INS Kirch was diverted from her deployment and tasked to reach Colombo to provide immediate assistance.

In May previous year, over 100 people lost their lives due to a massive landslide in the central regions of the country.

A Naval spokesman said INS Shardul has been dispatched from Southern Naval Command here to render humanitarian assistance.

The military used large armoured vehicles and boats to transport people to safety, but some remained trapped in villages in the interior.

Mudslides and floods triggered by heavy rains in Sri Lanka killed more than a dozen people with four others missing, Home Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardana said Friday.

President Maithripala Sirisena, who returned from a state visit to Australia, travelled to Kalutara, one of the worst affected districts south of Colombo, to supervise relief operations.

The Foreign Ministry stated that they have activated the emergency response unit considering the situation.

Seven districts have been severely affected, the worst of which is the coastal Kalutara, where 38 people have died and 80 people are missing.

During monsoon season, landslides are common in the tropical Indian Ocean island as its land has been heavily deforested.

In May 2016, a massive landslide killed more than 100 people in central Sri Lanka.

Authorities said five rivers burst their banks as a result of a powerful monsoon.

  • Arturo Norris