Sri Lanka appreciates China's assistance for flood relief

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-03 18:46

Sri Lanka appreciates China's assistance for flood relief

Sri Lankan flood victims await for relief workers to bring them drinkable water bottles and food at Godagama, Matara, southern part of Sri Lanka on May 30, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

COLOMBO - Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Saturday thanked the Chinese government and its people for their assistance to flood-hit families in the island country.

Along with tents, blankets and funds donated by the Chinese government and companies, the Buddhist Association of China on Saturday also donated 22 million rupees ($144,000) to the Disaster Relief Fund to assist the families affected by the disaster.

Speaking to Chinese monks and officials who were present from the donation, Sirisena said China had immediately responded to Sri Lanka's call for aid and had sent three ships of relief items for the victims.

In addition, he said, a Chinese flight with more relief items is also expected to arrive in the island country.

"Many countries have helped us by sending ships and flights filled with relief items. Many have donated funds as well. On behalf of the government and its people, I wish to thank all these countries. These funds will now be used to build houses for those affected," Sirisena said.

The president said China and Sri Lanka have shared a long lasting friendship which would only continue to be further strengthened.

The Chinese relief items, along with donations of funds, have been distributed to thousands of Sri Lankan people affected by the floods and landslides which hit the nation earlier this week.

An 18-member Chinese Blue Sky Rescue Team is also in the country, assisting forces and authorities to conduct cleaning operations, medical care and disease prevention in some of the worst-hit areas.

The flood victims have commended the help offered by China.

"China has always helped us in many ways. We are praying for their safety and strength as they continue to help those affected in these areas," Nilanthi Dhammika, a villager in Pahiyangala in the country's south, said.

Chairman of the Sevalanka Foundation Harsha Navaratne said Sri Lanka always remembered China's assistance especially during troubled times.

"Even during the ongoing disaster, the Chinese government along with its private sector provided great relief to the victims," he added.

China has pledged to offer 15 million yuan ($2.2 million) in humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka after severe rains from May 26 caused disastrous floods and landslides in many districts of the country.

So far 211 people have been killed while 91 others still missing in the worst disaster since 2003, according to the Disaster Management Center.

Over 700,000 people have been affected by the floods and landslides while over 100,000 are seeking shelter in safe locations.

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