Colombo, May 26 (NIA) – Rescue teams launched an immediate evacuation of people residing in low lying areas in the outskirts of capital Colombo on Friday as the water levels in three major rivers reached spill levels.
The Disaster Management Center said that the water levels in the Kelani river just outside Colombo and the Nilwala and Kalu rivers in the south had risen and people were being evacuated before nightfall.
However the police said that despite a public warning some residents living along the Kelani River had refused to leave their homes. Police urged all residents to reach to safer locations and they were being assisted by tri forces. The Meteorology Department, in its latest weather update warned of more rains as cautioned people to be vigilant.
At least 55 people were killed and several more missing when severe rains lashed out across the country from Thursday. More than 10 landslides were also reported across the country.
Search and rescue teams are ongoing and those trapped in their homes are also being airlifted by airforce helicopters, the DMC said.
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held an emergency meeting on Friday afternoon after parliamentary proceedings were called off due to the disaster situation, to discuss on the measures to be taken to assist the victims.
President Maithripala Sirisena who is on an official tour in Australia also instructed authorities to provide maximum relief to the victims.
The Sri Lanka Red Cross said that those affected by the severe rains had reached 500,000.