About 50 schoolchildren among the dead – Akila



by Maheesha Mudugamuwa


At least 44 schoolchildren are among those killed in devastating floods, mudslides triggered by heavy rains while another eight students are reported missing and also feared dead, according to Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam.


The death toll from the recent disasters has risen to 203 with 63 injured and 96 missing.


The rescue/recovery operations continued for the sixth day yesterday.


More than 631,346 people from 164,264 families had been affected by floods, heavy rains, high winds and landslides during the last few days, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said yesterday.


Ratnapura is the worst affected district along with Kegalle, Matale, Kandy, Vavuniya, Mulaitivu, Matara, Hambantota, Galle, Colombo, Kalutara, Gampaha, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Nuwara Eliya.


Over 1,508 houses were destroyed and another 7,617 houses had been partially damaged. More than 77,643 displaced people belonging to 19,876 families continued to be located at 368 safe places in nine districts.


Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the damage to property and crops caused by the disaster had not yet been evaluated.


Financial assistance from foreign countries for the disaster victims was expected and President Maithripala Sirisena had ordered that funds be utilised for building houses for the flood victims.


The UN has pledged assistance in relief efforts in response to a government appeal; it has promised to donate water purification tablets, tarpaulins, and water containers for the displaced. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has provided medical teams to affected areas and the Pakistan has also sent in relief supplies. India has sent three naval ships carrying relief materials and the third one arrived in Colombo on Tuesday.


According to Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, 44 countries have come forward to help disaster victims and 33 of them had pledge financial assistance.


All such monetary aid would be transferred to Finance Ministry accounts, he said.


Those who are willing to make their donations in foreign currencies are kindly requested to remit funds to the account numbers that matche with the type of foreign currency maintained at the Sampath Bank PLC under the SWIFT code: BSAMLKLX––US dollars to AC NO: 5029 6000 2000, Pounds sterling to 5029 6100 2000, Yen to 5029 6400 2000, Australian dollars to 5029 6600 2000 and Euro to 5029 6900 2000.


The Irrigation Department said the water levels in rivers were dropping due to a drop in the rainfall during the past 24 hours.


Director (Hydrology) P. Hettiarachchi said the water levels in the Kalu Ganga and the Gin Ganga were decreasing gradually. She said there was a fear that the floods might have damaged most of the irrigation systems though it could not be confirmed until the flood waters receded.


The Meteorology Department predicts fairly strong winds about 50 kmph over the country. The  windy conditions are especially expected over the Southern province and Matale, Trincomalee and Polonnaruwa districts.


The showers are expected in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern and Central provinces, in the Puttalam district, the Uva province and Batticaloa, and Ampara districts particularly in the afternoon.


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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