Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sri Lanka floods leave at least 151 dead, aid agencies warn half a million displaced

Global warming is causing more flooding around the world.

By South Asia correspondent James Bennett
Updated May 29, 2017 06:43:03 (May 28, 2017 in the U.S.)

Sri Lankan rescuers yesterday continued the grim task of retrieving more bodies, buried beneath deadly mudslides triggered by monsoonal downpours which dumped a month's rain in single

The confirmed death toll now stands at 151.

Authorities said there was now little hope for the 100 or more people still missing, meaning the death toll for disaster may equal floods in 2003 that claimed 250 lives.


Sri Lanka's Government has asked for international help and aid agencies say the situation is alarming.

"It is very very serious," said Borjan Kolundzija, Sri Lanka director for charity Oxfam's Sri Lanka.


"For at least 100,000 of them, we can safely assume that they lost their homes and their livelihoods."

Save the Children's country director in Sri Lanka, Chris McIvor, said that the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka was "alarming".

"The impact of these early monsoon season downpours has been far more devastating than what we'd normally expect this time of year," he said.

Mr Kolundzija said getting survivors sustenance, clean water and shelter was critical.


Listing the most urgently-needed items, he said: "It is food, it is water and sanitation support, water storage facilities, temporary latrines and temporary housing."

The United Nations has promised to donate water purification tablets, tents and other supplies for the displaced.

India sent a shipload of goods, while the United States and Pakistan also promised to send relief supplies.

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the ABC in a statement Australia has offered search and rescue teams and is working with the authorities in Colombo and the UN to determine what other assistance might be needed.

Oxfam's Borjan Kolundzija warned last night the situation was likely to worsen today.

"The forecast for the next two days is also heavy raining, so the numbers [of people affected] … may increase in a couple of days time," he said.

Compounding the misery, when the water does recede, Sri Lankans are also being warned to expect a jump in cases of the mosquito-borne diseases, like dengue fever.


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