Indian ship with relief material reaches Sri Lanka

An Indian ship loaded with relief material and rescue and medical teams reached Sri Lanka on Saturday after the island nation was hit by severe rain and subsequent landslides that claimed over 90 lives.

"On the directive of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi last night (Friday), INS Kirch arrives in Sri Lanka with relief material and rescue and medical teams today (Saturday) morning," the Indian High Commission in Colombo tweeted.

In a separate tweet, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake received the ship at the Colombo port.

Over 52,000 people have been displaced after hours of severe rain and strong winds and as many as 91 people have died in the tragedy with over 100 missing.

According to the Disaster Management Centre, Sri Lanka has witnessed the worst rainfall since the 1970s.

Earlier, condoling the loss of lives and property and assuring aid from India, Modi said: "The first ship will reach Colombo on Saturday morning. The second will reach on Sunday. Further assistance is on its way."

At the invitation of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, the Prime Minister was earlier this month in the southern neighbour as chief guest at the UN-recognised 14th International Vesak Day celebrations to mark the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha.

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