The total death toll from last week’s disasters is thought to be around 300 with the government deciding to consider 95 persons who have gone missing also as dead, State Minister of Public Enterprise Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene says.
Minister Abeywardene was addressing the SLFP weekly media briefing at party headquarters in Colombo.
Rescue workers had combed through mud and rubble left by devastating floods and landslides, looking for survivors till yesterday, but in vain, the minister said.
Minister Abeywardena from Matara, one of the worst affected districts, said about his own experience, “The whole area was flooded within 20 minutes and we were helpless. I can’t even imagine how the others faced the situation. We were all stranded for hours.
“I experienced the floods in 1969 and 2003 but the worst was this year’s.”The government placed the number of affected people at 629,695 from to 163,740 families with 1,540 houses destroyed and 7,714 others damaged. More than 72,105 people from 18, 707 families are still at 355 safe locations.
Minister Abeywardena said the government would give Rs. 100,000 each to families whose members had perished in disasters.
So far the government had spent Rs. 126 million to look after the affected people, Minister Abeywardene said.