COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lankan rescuers took advantage of improving weather and receding floodwaters Sunday to reach thousands of people in need of basic supplies after floods and mudslides left at least 126 dead.
Officials said hope is fading for finding survivors among 97 people missing in two days of torrential rains and landslides that swamped western and southern regions. More than 100,000 are displaced.
The U.N 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 Pakistan announced that it will soon dispatch a consignment of relief supplies.
Although the weather has cleared, more rains are forecast for Sunday and Monday.
Maj. Gen. Sudantha Ranasinghe, who is heading the search and rescue mission, said that mounds of earth and rocks crashed down in such a way that people could hardly survive, and that most of the affected places were still inundated.
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.