Emergency teams yesterday rushed to distribute aid to half a million Sri Lankans displaced after the island’s worst flooding in more than 10 years claimed 141 lives and left scores more missing.
Floodwaters were receding in some areas after a break in the rain, giving authorities a chance to deliver much-needed supplies to people who lost everything as torrents of water swept away their homes.
Many villages were still underwater, officials said.
Medical teams were dispatched to the worst-affected areas to help prevent an outbreak of waterborne diseases.
“We have the expertise to deal with this situation,” Sri Lankan Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne said, adding that cholera and diarrhea had been successfully prevented in past floods.
Heavy rains on Friday triggered the worst flooding and landslides in 14 years in the southern and western parts of the island.
The Sri Lankan Disaster Management Centre said 112 people remained missing as of yesterday morning while about 50 injured in landslides were hospitalized.
Most of the victims were killed when mountainsides collapsed on homes, Senaratne said.
Nearly 500,000 people were forced from their homes and most of them had moved into temporary shelters, he said.
The government withdrew an evacuation order for thousands of residents in Matara District as water levels subsided.
“The threat of floods around the Nilvala [river] has subsided,” Sri Lankan Department of Irrigation Director M. Thuraisingham said. “The flood levels near Colombo have also gone down because we did not have rain in the past 24 hours.”
Water levels in Ratnapura, the gem district east of Colombo, subsided but many villages in Kalutara, south of the capital, were still underwater, officials said.
The military has deployed helicopters, boats as well as amphibious vehicles to rescue marooned people and deliver food and other essentials to victims.
Sri Lanka has also sought international help and India rushed a naval ship equipped with a medical team and other supplies.
The UN said it would give water containers, water purification tablets and tarpaulin sheets while the WHO would support medical teams in affected areas.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable