At least 500,000 displaced, many more missing and 88 injured. Heavy rainfall is expected over next few hours. Alert for crocodiles as Nilwala River breaks its banks. The president allocates over 263,000 euros for relief operations.
Colombo (AsiaNews) - The dramatic toll from violent floods that have hit the southern districts of Sri Lanka on the weekend is 166 dead. According to the latest data from the Disaster Management Center (Dmc), at least 102 people are missing and 88 wounded, but the numbers are constantly updated. The authorities report that about 500,000 people are displaced without food and water. Apart from the precipitation expected in today's day, what concerns the rescuers is the difficulty of reaching the flooded areas, isolated by numerous landslides. The overflow of the Nilwala River in the Matara district then pushed the Information Department to issue an alert for the presence of crocodiles.
Since May 26, the Asian island has been flagged by rains, typical of the monsoon season. The latest weather report predicts that at least 100 millimeters of rain will fall today, particularly in the western area of the Central Hills.
The government has warned of the possible proliferation of diseases and epidemics, linked to the shortage of drinking water and medicines. Sahan Fernando of the Matara District portrays the extent of the devastation: "The properties of our village are underwater. Luckily there were no casualties, but all we owned was destroyed. The school, the houses, are covered with water to the roof. There is no hope of recovering something from within. "
Rescue operations are in full swing, supported by two Indian ships. The Sri Lankan Navy has deployed 28 vessels, the Air Force seven helicopters, the Army six tanks. There is an ambulance service on the territory, with 84 vehicles in total. President Maithripala Sirisena expressed his closeness to people affected by the disaster and allocated 45 million rupees [over 263,000 euros] for emergency operations.