Sri Lanka shelves auto purchases as monsoon toll nudges 200

In 2003, flash floods killed about 260 people.

A Sri Lankan boy holds a food packet as he wades through a flooded street in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, May 28, 2017. "Water has gone above three-story buildings and people survive by running onto higher ground".

"Deputy Minister for Disaster Management Dunesh Kankanda said many people were on roofs and treetops calling for help".

The relief supplies include tents, blankets which Sri Lanka is in urgent need of.

By more rain expected on Monday, rescuers were running to clear villages from the most vulnerable regions as emergency groups made quick to allocate aid to nearly half a million people driven from their houses by the isle's worst flooding in a years.

Taking advantage of a lull in rains, soldiers cleared road access to most of the affected areas, while others were reachable by boat, said Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, who is heading the search and rescue mission. A third ship was expected later today, officials said.

Military spokesman Roshan Senevirathne said more than 2,000 military personnel had been deployed to help the police and civilian agencies.

People residing in low lying areas towards southern Sri Lanka were advised to evacuate to safer location due to the threat of rivers overflowing as the Meteorology Department on Monday warned of more rains followed by strong winds.

Some 412 houses were fully damaged with over 4,200 houses suffering partial damage.

The displaced are living in 336 temporary shelters, emergency officials said.

Sri Lanka's health minister, Rajitha Senaratne, said medical teams have been dispatched to the worst affected areas to prevent an outbreak of waterborne diseases, and said cholera and diarrhoea had been successfully prevented in past floods.

The United Nations said it would donate water containers, water purification tablets and tarpaulin sheets while the World Health Organization will support medical teams in affected areas.

At least 194 people have been killed and almost 100 are missing following the rains that began swamping the southern and western areas of the Indian Ocean island nation last Friday.

After the government's appeal, the United Nations said it was assisting in relief efforts including the donation of tents, water purification tablets, and other supplies for the displaced.

There were scattered showers in many parts of Sri Lanka in the past 24 hours but flood waters were rapidly receding, officials said.

  • Leroy Wright