Sri Lanka Deploys Troops For Flood Relief Operations

(CNN)

Thousands of Sri Lankan troops have launched a massive operation to rescue nearly a million people affected by floods in the central, north and eastern provinces.

The flooding has killed at least 13 people, officials said.

More than 28,000 troops, backed by transport helicopters and navy boats, are rescuing flood victims and delivering food, authorities said. It is the biggest troops operation since the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels one-and-a-half years ago.

The flow of food to affected areas "is going on smoothly," said Maj. Gen. Boniface Perera, Sri Lanka army's eastern commander.

Authorities are making arrangements to take baby food, mosquito repellents and medical supplies to the area, Perera said.

The operation follows President Mahinda Rajapaksa's visit to the flood-hit area Wednesday.