Heavy rains in Sri Lanka hamper relief efforts in flood-hit villages

Relief and rescue efforts in disaster-hit areas are getting difficult as highways are buried under mud and roads are under water.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Rescue efforts in inundated areas are challenging authorities in Sri Lanka, given the scale of the devastation.

Heavy rains, highways buried under landslides and roads submerged under water are hampering efforts to get food, water and medicine to thousands of flood survivors in Sri Lanka, government officials and aid workers said on Tuesday.

The floods and landslides, triggered by torrential rains in recent days, have killed some 200 people and disrupted the lives of over half-a-million others. Over 80,000 people have been forced into temporary shelters and around 100 people remain missing.

The flooding has swept away hundreds of buildings and homes and inundated major roads, bridges and vast tracts of farmland - including tea and rubber plantations.

TRT World’s Nafisa Latic reports.

The deluge, the worst Sri Lanka has witnessed in more than a decade, has forced the island to call for international assistance. The UN aid agencies, as well as India, China, Pakistan, Australia and Japan, have rallied to offer support.

India sent two naval ships with supplies over the weekend, and the UN is hoping to deliver fresh drinking water.

The government has also appealed for drinking water and new clothes for those displaced.

Medical teams say their biggest concern is preventing an outbreak of waterborne diseases like cholera.

The flooding is the worst since May 2003 when 250 people were killed after a powerful monsoon.

Six dead in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, to Sri Lanka's north, at least six people died and dozens were injured when Cyclone Mora made landfall

The cyclone hit the island of Saint Martin and the Bangladeshi coastal region of Teknaf early Tuesday morning, damaging thousands of homes and ripping through a camp housing thousands of Rohingya refugees who had fled violence in Myanmar.

When the storm hit Bangladesh, it brought winds gusting up to 135 kph (85 mph) and heavy rain.

By daybreak on Wednesday, the storm died down with only a steady rain falling.

Airports and ports in Cox's Bazar and Chittagong have reopened.

River Imphal breaches its banks in India

River Imphal, in India's northeastern Manipur state, breached its banks due to the heavy rains caused by Cyclone Mora as it churned up the country's east coast, inundating roads and sparking fears of flooding on Wednesday.

Local residents in the state capital Imphal filled sand bags in a bid to keep back the river from flooding the city.

Cyclone Mora reached India's northeast on Tuesday, bringing strong winds and heavy rains to the region, where there were already reports of damaged houses, uprooted trees and cuts to power.

The India Meteorological Department on Tuesday said the storm was expected to weaken into a depression. Serious damage was not expected in the northeast, home to over 1.2 million people.

TRTWorld and agencies