After receiving a distress call from Sri Lanka, who is suffering from landslides and floods the government on Saturday dispatched three naval ships to the island nation, India’s most strategically located neighbour in the Indian Ocean, with relief supplies.
The Indian High Commission in Colombo said in a press release that after a request was received from Lanka, PM Narendra Modi himself directed provision of necessary assistance.
Modi, who has sought to rev up ties with countries in the neighbourhood since taking over as PM, also expressed condolences at the loss of lives and property and said that India stood with her “Sri Lankan brothers and sisters in their hour of need”.
Floods caused by monsoons rains and monsoons rains and cyclone Roanu, have left over 100 dead in the neighbouring country. Sri Lanka has now appealed to the United Nations for assistance.
The High Commission said that pursuant to Modi’s directions, INS Kirch was diverted from her deployment and tasked to reach Colombo to provide immediate assistance. The ship, with around 125 personnel on board, arrived at Colombo Port on the morning of May 27 and offloaded relief supplies, inflatable Gemini boats with diving teams, and a mobile medical team with supplies.
High Commissioner Taranjit Sandhu handed over the supplies to Ravi Karunanayake, foreign minister of Sri Lanka.
The Indian rescue personnel are now being deployed to the disaster affected zone in coordination with Sri Lanka Navy and other Sri Lankan authorities. India was the first country to dispatch assistance to Sri Lanka as the latter sought more relief supplies from the United Nations.
Lanka’s ministry of foreign affairs in coordination with the ministry of disaster management appealed to the UN, International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) and neighbouring countries to provide assistance to affected people, especially in the areas of search and rescue operations.