37 dead, 21 missing as floods, landslides torment Sri Lanka

With a three-day-long spell of heavy rains over Sri Lanka coming to an end on Wednesday, the toll due to floods and landslides went up to 37. The authorities recovered 17 bodies during the day, including 14 in Aranayake of the Kegalle district, where several families were feared buried in a landslide on Tuesday night.

On the damages caused by the rains in 18 districts, Pradeep Kodippili, a spokesperson of the Disaster Management Centre, told The Hindu on Wednesday that about 3.52 lakh people were affected. Of them, 2.23 lakh people were removed to safe locations. As many as 211 houses were fully damaged and 2,647 houses partially hit.

Rescue operations

Reacting to the Sri Lanka Red Cross’s statement that over 200 families were missing in Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitiya villages in Aranayake, Mr. Kodippili said it was not proper to arrive at any figure of missing persons when the authorities were conducting a survey of the area.

“The present number of missing persons throughout the country is 21,” he said.

President Maithripala Sirisena visited Aranayake and directed officials to expedite rescue and relief operations.

An official at the Meteorology Department said the country got this kind of rainfall after a gap of six years.

Among the areas that witnessed heavy rains, Killinochchi in the Northern Province recorded 37 cm on Monday morning; Mahailluppallamma in the North Central Province got 27 cm on Tuesday and Gampaha in the Western Province recorded 13.5 cm on Wednesday.

Relief services

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Cabinet has decided to increase the amount given to an affected person for cooked food per day from Rs. 150 to Rs. 225 and get additional allocations for providing relief in respect of those not covered under the National Insurance Programme for Natural Disasters. The National Insurance Trust Fund has granted Rs. 20 million to the National Disaster Relief Service Centre, an official release said.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 9:56:49 AM |

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