(Vatican Radio) Floods and mudslides triggered by four days of heavy rains have inundated vast areas in southwest Sri Lanka with at least 169 deaths and more than 100,000 taking shelter in 339 relief camps. The Ministry of Disaster Management said that as many as 112 people are still missing, and the death toll is expected to rise, as authorities battle to rescue those still stranded.
Army helicopters and boats and police were searching for those stranded in vulnerable areas. Special medical teams have been sent to the affected areas, while medicine has been sent by air to hospitals unreachable by road, said Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senarathna.
The United Nations said it had joined the relief efforts and would donate water purification tablets, tents and other supplies for the displaced. India sent shiploads of goods and some rescue and medical staff while the United States and Pakistan also promised relief supplies.
The flooding is the worst since May 2003 when 250 people were killed and 10,000 homes destroyed after a similarly powerful southwest monsoon.