Sri Lanka death toll after flooding, mudslides reaches 146
Break in rainy weather allows soldiers to airlift victims, deliver supplies
Sri Lankan rescuers pulled out more bodies under enormous mudslides on Sunday as the death toll climbed to 146 with 112 others missing.
Although the weather has cleared, more rains are forecast for Sunday and Monday, threatening to bring more misery to over 100,000 displaced in the country's western and southern regions that were lashed by two days of torrential rains.
Taking advantage of a lull in rains, soldiers cleared road access to most of the affected areas while others were reachable by boat, said Maj. Gen. Sudantha Ranasinghe, who is heading the search and rescue mission. People waded in knee-deep floodwaters to get to army trucks transporting relief supplies and taking away those waiting to be evacuated.
Ranasinghe said he didn't expect to find any more survivors.
The UN said it is assisting in relief efforts in response to a government appeal. It also promised to donate water purification tablets, tents and other supplies for the displaced. India sent a shipload of goods while the United States and Pakistan also promised consignments of relief supplies.
Mudslides have become common during the monsoon season in Sri Lanka, a tropical Indian Ocean island nation, as land has been heavily deforested to grow export crops such as tea and rubber. Last May, a massive landslide killed more than 100 people in central Sri Lanka.