US Navy warship arrives in Colombo to support disaster relief in flood-hit Sri Lanka

SINGAPORE - A US Navy warship which sailed from Singapore last Wednesday to support relief operations in flood-hit Sri Lanka arrived in Colombo yesterday (June 11).

The missile cruiser USS Lake Erie, which has been deployed to the Western Pacific region since May (2017), made a brief stopover in the Republic last week to resupply for its current mission.

The ship's more than 200 officers and sailors will work with the Sri Lankan Government and aid agencies there on cleaning and restoring disaster-hit areas, and supplying affected communities with food and water.

Heavy monsoon rains have battered Sri Lanka since May 26, resulting in the country's worst floods and landslides in over a decade. At least 16 countries have sent food and medical supplies.

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) said last week that the death toll has hit 212, with 80 people missing and 22,000 people living in emergency shelters after being displaced.

"We share in the sorrow of the Sri Lankan people at the loss of life and devastation brought on by this disaster," said Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command.

"We will work closely with our inter-agency partners from the US Department of State, US Agency for International Development (USAID), and others to ensure continued, timely and swift responses to requests from the Government of Sri Lanka."

The US Pacific Command is expected to deploy military aircraft and more personnel to support the humanitarian efforts.