Thousands of Sri Lankan troops battled Monday to get relief supplies to nearly half a million people displaced by the island's worst flooding in well over a decade, which has killed 177 people.
The military said a lull in torrential monsoon rains had allowed it to deploy aircraft, boats and ground troops to evacuate people from flooded areas and deliver food and other essentials.
Almost half a million people have had to abandon their homes after the island suffered its worst flooding in 14 years.
The Disaster Management Centre said 169 people had been confirmed dead, most of them buried by landslides triggered by Friday's intense rains. Another 102 people are listed as missing and 88 are in hospital.
The flooding is the worst since May 2003, when 250 people were killed and 10,000 homes destroyed after a similarly powerful monsoon.
Nearly 2,000 houses have suffered structural damage or been completely destroyed, according to official figures.
#China offers humanitarian aid worth $2.2 million for #SriLanka flood relief https://t.co/G6tevRbdTE pic.twitter.com/RzNFGEP2dC — People's Daily,China (@PDChina) May 29, 2017
All schools in flood-hit areas, including the capital Colombo, will be closed for a week, it said.
Sri Lanka has sought international assistance, with India sending two naval ships laden with supplies over the weekend.
The United Nations said it would donate water containers, water purification tablets and tarpaulins while the World Health Organisation will support medical teams in affected areas. Japan had promised portable electricity generators and a team of experts to help with the relief work, officials said, adding that Pakistan was also in talks with Colombo to send relief supplies. Islamabad recently gave 10,000 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka to help drought victims. The meteorological department said Friday's rain ended a prolonged drought that had threatened agriculture. It is forecasting more rain in the next two days.
Indian Navy joins flood relief operations in Sri Lanka pic.twitter.com/xWsyUc1J0B— Republic (@republic) May 27, 2017
Sri Lanka deploys thousands of troops as flood toll climbs to 169 https://t.co/QYsSJHFaBr #SriLankaFloods pic.twitter.com/HvDcRim6gQ — AFP news agency (@AFP) May 29, 2017