India sends two ships to rain-ravaged Sri Lanka

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INS Sunayna

India on 20 May rushed two ships packed with relief material to cyclone-hit Sri Lanka. Naval offshore patrol vessel, INS Sunayna, and survey vessel, INS Sutlej, have been rushed to Colombo from Southern Naval Command, Kochi.

The first tropical cyclone, Roanu, of the season has caused large-scale devastation in Sri Lanka, with more than two lakh escaping from flooded Colombo which has seen another heavy downpour, obstructing relief work.

Such was the vehemence of the rains, that more than four lakh people have been forced to escape to state-run relief camps. Large parts of Colombo were evacuated overnight in an operation led by the military, involving boats and helicopters. A military officer said the heavy rains have triggered huge landslides that buried two villages in up to 50 feet of mud.

People appeared reluctant to shift despite promises from the office of Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe that there would be no looting as the army would be present. Also, thousands of empty gas cylinders were washed away by the floods.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclone, Roanu, has moved northeastwards and lay centered around 160 km south-southwest of Visakhapatnam and 70 km east-southeast of Kakinada.

The weatherman has issued a warning of heavy to very heavy rainfall in coastal Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Gangetic West Bengal with winds going up to speeds of 90 to 100 kmph.

In Andhra Pradesh, the district administrations have asked to see that people staying in low-lying areas are shifted to safer places. NDRF and SDRF teams have been kept in readiness and essential items such as food, water, medicines and other material has been kept ready.