Colombo, June 3 (NIA) – Sri Lanka’s newly appointed Foreign Minister, Ravi Karunanayake, on Saturday thanked China for being a true friend and assisting the country during its hour of need.
Karunanayake addressed reporters minutes after a special Air China cargo flight carrying emergency humanitarian relief estimated at 2.2 million US dollars arrived in Sri Lanka on Saturday for the families affected by the floods and landslides which hit the island earlier this week.
Donated by the Chinese government and its people, the items were handed over to Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Foreign Minister Karunanayake, by the Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang.
Both the Sri Lankan ministers thanked China’s prompt assistance to help the island during its hour of need.
“China has been ready to help us during our hour of need and we have received a lot of aid and financial support from China. These relief items which were received today will be distributed to the affected families in five districts which were the worst hit,” Minister Yapa said.
Foreign Minister Karunanayake, while thanking the Chinese government and its people on behalf of the President, Prime Minister, the government and the Sri Lankan people said China had responded spontaneously when Sri Lanka called for help.
“We requested the international community and China was there as a ready friend. They have been with us right throughout and have been assisting us at this hour of need,” Karunanayake said.
The Minister further said that to this date, 233 people had been killed since severe rains from May 26 caused floods and landslides in many districts.
He said 623,000 people had been displaced while 65 to 70 people were still missing.
“We are a small country and if ever there is a situation in China, we will reciprocate in any small manner that will help China,” he added.
Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang said that Chinese President Xi Jinping, his government and the Chinese people stood ready to assist and support Sri Lanka during this time of need.
He said China will continue to support and provide the best to Sri Lanka and even in the future it will do its best to assist the island country if ever a disaster occurs. “China will always stand up for Sri Lanka even during difficult times,” he said.
The relief items which arrived in the special Chinese flight included tents, bed sheets, life jackets, blankets and rain boots.
These are some of the items urgently required by the Sri Lankan officials as clearing and cleaning operations in the affected districts are underway.