June 16, Colombo: Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Sri Lanka Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne joined U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap to visit the captain and crew aboard the USS Lake Erie to express their appreciation for the flood relief work provided by U.S. Navy sailors visiting Sri Lanka.
"I want to thank Captain Darren McPherson and all of our U.S. servicemen and women, who exemplify the spirit and goodwill of America," said Ambassador Keshap. "We know the experience and trust developed between Americans and Sri Lankans working side-by-side to help recover from this disaster will strengthen our people-to-people ties and improve future coordination of humanitarian assistance."
Over the past two weeks, U.S. military personnel and cadets have provided expertise and manpower to rehabilitate flood-affected communities across the South. Working closely with the Sri Lanka Navy and Marines, local government officials, non-governmental organizations, and Ministry of Defense they have helped students return to cleaned-up schools, aided the process of well decontamination, and rebuilt bunds.
In addition, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided a total of approximately LKR 350 million ($2.3 million) to local organizations to provide safe drinking water, hygiene kits, emergency shelter materials, home repair kits, and critical health care services to stave off disease.