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Posted at: May 29, 2017, 9:20 PM; last updated: May 29, 2017, 9:20 PM (IST)

SL floods: Indian Navy teams deployed; death toll rises to 180

SL floods: Indian Navy teams deployed; death toll rises to 180
Sri Lankan residents make their way through floodwaters in Bulathsinhala in the district of Kalutara on May 29. AFP

Colombo, May 29

Indian Navy diving and medical teams have been deployed to assist Sri Lanka Navy operations in the flood-hit southwestern region, as the death toll from the disaster on Monday rose to 180 with 110 people still missing in the island nation’s worst torrential rains in 14 years.

Rescuers pulled out more bodies buried in the mudslides triggered by monsoon rains, taking the death toll to 180. The death toll is expected to rise further as 110 people are still missing, according to the Disaster Management Centre.

Sri Lankan Naval spokesperson Chaminda Walakauluge said two Indian ships INS ‘Kirch’ and INS ‘Shardul’ have arrived and “they joined us (Sri Lanka Navy) in extending relief”.

Indian Navy diving and medical teams arrived in INS Shardul yesterday and have been deployed to assist Sri Lanka Navy operations at Kalutara, Ratmalana and Galle.

Indian High Commission here tweeted images of “Indian diving and medical teams deployed at Kalutara, Ratmalana (and) Galle with (Sri Lankan) navy relief (operations).”   

Indian Naval personnel of INS ‘Kirch’ that arrived in the island on Saturday are currently engaging in flood relief operations at Udugama and Galapatha in the Kalutara District in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Navy.

“They are here as part of India’s continued commitment to assist in flood relief efforts in Sri Lanka in response to a request from the Government of Sri Lanka,” the Indian High Commission said.

Following India’s lead in sending out emergency relief to Sri Lanka, more countries have started pledging assistance to provide relief to the flood victims.

China is to donate relief items worth of USD 2.2 million.

The relief goods, to be dispatched to Colombo by a chartered flight soon, include tents, blankets, sheets, rain boots and life jackets.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang sent condolence messages to President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe respectively on the loss of the lives and property in floods and landslides caused by heavy rain.

The flooding is the worst since May 2003 when 250 people were killed and 10,000 homes destroyed after a similarly powerful Southwest monsoon, officials had said.

Sri Lanka, which has been heavily deforested for cash crops, often witnesses landslides during the monsoon season. — PTI

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