Even as the world joined hands to help Sri Lanka in its time of need, fears continued to rise amidst reports that more heavy rains were expected on Monday. The development comes as the total number of casualties increased, leaving at least 151 dead, and over 111 missing, in what is described as Sri Lanka’s worst ever floods since 2003. The floods and landslides following torrential rains have affected at least 442,000 people, and have displaced over 100,000.
But, even before waters levels receded, more warning bells were sounded today by the Meteorological Department which said that more showers were likely over the south-western part of the island from Monday onwards. “Showers or thundershowers will occur at times in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Central and North-Western provinces,” the department said, while adding that heavy rain falls of above 100 mm can be expected in some places and in particularly in the western slope of the central hills.
Photo via Facebook – Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Sri Lanka
Meanwhile, the National Building Research Organisation issued a ‘Level 3 Red Alert’ landslide warning this afternoon, urging residents from certain parts of Ratnapura, Kegalle, Galle, Kalutara, Matara, Hambantota and Nuwara Eliya to evacuate as even the slightest amount of rain can result in landslides.
According to the UN, flooding and landslides have affected 14 out of 25 districts including; Batticaloa, Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Matale, Matara, Mulaitivu, Ratnapura, Trincomalee and Vavuniya. “The most severely impacted district is Galle, where 128,047 people (32,215 families) have reportedly been affected. Fatalities have been reported in Gampaha, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kegalle, Matara and Ratnapura districts, with 46 deaths reported in Ratnapura alone. Tri-Forces and Police have been mobilized for Search and Rescue and evacuations operations in Galle, Hambantota, Kalutara and Matara districts. The UN stresses the importance of following evacuation orders to minimize loss of human life,” a statement released from the UN office in Colombo yesterday said.
Meanwhile, two ships carrying relief material from India arrived in Sri Lanka, to help the thousands of victims affected by the flood and landslides, while US Ambassador in Sri Lanka Atul Keshap in a tweet said that the US will send emergency assistance worth Rs. 15 million as immediate relief to those affected by the floods and landslides. The Pakistan High Commission in Colombo said that it is in touch with authorities to finalize the required relief materials for the victims of the landslides and floods, while Australia’s foreign minister said her country was ready to provide any assistance should Sri Lanka require it. China also extended humanitarian disaster relief goods worth about USD 2.2 million for the victims in Sri Lanka.