Sri Lanka Floods 2016
Sri Lanka Floods 2016Reuters

UPDATE: 5.35 p.m. IST —

The death toll in the Sri Lanka floods has risen to 73, according to a report by the Guardian.

India and Japan have sent relief items including tents, tarpaulin sheets, generators, medicines and water purifiers. The Japanese embassy in Colombo was quoted by the daily as saying that Japan would send disaster management experts to help speed up relief efforts and look at ways to reduce landslide risks.

The US has also announced a three-year project to help the flood-hit South Asian country maintain supplies of drinking water even during drought and floods.

Original Story —

As relief operations are underway in cyclone-hit Sri Lanka, the country's government has said that the flood situation is "under control."

The Hindu reported that while briefing the international community on the flood situation in the country, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera along with Minister of Disaster Management Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that a coordinating committee had been set up to figure out the possible requirements. The government has sought foreign aid in the form of lifeboats, motor equipment and purification tablets.

With the death toll reaching 58, the district of Kegalle alone accounts for 34 deaths. The Sri Lankan Disaster Management Centre (DMC) has said that 16 bodies were recovered from the town of Aranayaka, where a landslip occurred on Tuesday night, the Hindu further said. As many as 14 people died in Bulathkohupitiya, while four bodies were recovered from Dehiovita.

Yapa was quoted by the Hindu as saying that Aranayaka was considered less vulnerable to landslips. "We had anticipated landslips to happen in high-risk areas but not here." He cited "human intervention" with nature as the main cause and said that land use plan in the town needs to be amended with stringent building laws and codes.

Reuters reported that there seems to be no hope for over 130 people feared trapped beneath the landslides. Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, the officer in charge for the relief operation, was quoted by the agency as saying: "I don't think there will be any survivors... There are places where the mud level is up to 30 feet. We will keep going until we can recover the maximum."

Aid agencies in Colombo have proposed for boats to rescue hundreds of people trapped in river waters. The DMC was quoted by Reuters as saying that over 300,000 displaced people had been sent to 610 safe locations.

India has sent two naval ships – INS Sunayna and INS Sutlej – to Colombo with relief material from Kochi, according to ANI.