Dairy company Fonterra has joined relief efforts in Sri Lanka, giving milk powder and emergency supplies from its New Zealand Milk plant in the capital city, Colombo.

The plant in the inland village of Biyagama was not hit by the tidal waves.

New Zealand Milk, Sri Lanka, managing director Alastair de Raadt said the company had given $140,000 worth of milk powder to emergency workers. Its trucks were also being used to distribute milk and drinking water.

Local staff had also given a day's salary to help aid workers buy food and medicine.

Other materials such as plastic container sheets and pallets were being used to build emergency shelters.

Of the 550 New Zealand Milk staff on the island, only one remained unaccounted for last night.. A few had lost family and had their homes destroyed.

Fonterra has 2250 staff working in its New Zealand Milk operations throughout Southeast Asia.

In New Zealand, donations for aid are being accepted at all branches of the ASB, BNZ, Westpac, ANZ and National Banks and at all Countdown, Woolworths and Foodtown supermarkets.