Sri Lanka: Flooding causes massive landslide, over 200 families feared buried (UPDATED)
Share this on

Sri Lanka: Flooding causes massive landslide, over 200 families feared buried (UPDATED)

UPDATE:

12 bodies have been recovered from under the mud brought down by the landslide this morning, a government official has confirmed.

Pradeep Kodippili, the spokesman of the Disaster Management Center, said all 12 victims found had been residents of the houses that were buried by the landslide.

This raises the death toll due to the torrential rain to 23.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

A MASSIVE landslide has buried three villages in the Arayanake Divisional Secretariat, located in the Kegalle province, says the Red Cross in Sri Lanka.

The landslide, which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday morning, was brought on by three days of non-stop rain. Red Cross and other rescue sources have estimated the number of people missing could be as high as 400.

A news report by NewsNow says five bodies have been found so far. Rescue operations are ongoing.

The torrential rains and flash floods have already forced 137,000 people from their homes, with reports saying 11 people have died.

The Sri Lankan government has deployed troops to evacuate people living in landslide-prone areas such as slopes, as well as flood-hit areas.

The navy and air forces have also been called to help with relief operations, according to an AFP report published by ReliefWeb.

This morning, the Red Cross said it has rescued 180 people who are now being housed at a temple, and have been provided with cooked food, blankets, and first aid.

According to a document obtained by freelance journalist Amantha Perera, the entire province of Kegalle was put under landslide watch, along with nine other districts.

The other districts still at risk are:

  • Badulla
  • Moneragala
  • Kandy
  • Rathnapura
  • Kurunegala
  • Nuwaraeliya
  • Matale
  • Kalutara

Weather forecasters Accuweather predicts heavy rain will continue to fall across western Sri Lanka until Thursday.

The rain, caused by a depression, will also affect areas in India, falling heaviest from Chennai to Machilipatnam, which could see up to 12 inches (300 mm) of rain.

Additional reporting by Associated Press