Foreign aid arrives as Sri Lanka flood toll exceeds 200
COLOMBO - International aid arrived into Sri Lanka on Wednesday as the death toll from the island's worst floods and landslides in well over a decade climbed to 202.
Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake said 16 countries had rushed relief supplies and medicine to assist more than 600,000 people driven from their homes following Friday's monsoon deluge.
"We also have a lot of enquiries from other countries and organisations wanting to know our immediate needs. We are moved by the spontaneous response," Karunanayake told reporters in Colombo.
India and Pakistan also deployed medical teams on the ground in some of the worst-affected areas, he said.
The Disaster Management Centre confirmed the death toll rose to 202 after the discovery of more landslide victims beneath tonnes of mud in Sri Lanka's hard-hit southwest.
Another 96 people were listed as still missing.
As the floods receded in most areas, hundreds of volunteers have fanned out to begin cleaning drinking wells to bring fresh water to survivors, officials said.
Government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said additional medical teams were also being deployed to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases.
In May 2003, 250 people were killed and 10,000 homes destroyed after a similarly powerful monsoon.