05/18/2016, 18.33
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Heavy rains provoke mudslides, 150 people buried

by Melani Manel Perera

For three days, heavy rains have been battering the island nation. So far, the official death toll stands at 35 with 350,000 people displaced. A huge landslide in the central Province swept away 66 houses and 400 residents. About 250 have been rescued, and there is little hope for the others.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Heavy rains have been battering Sri Lanka and India's east coast since Sunday. Some ten centimetres have fallen in the past two days, flooding roads and villages.

Some 35 people are known to have died so far with 350,000 forced to flee their homes. A mudslide in the Central Province swept over 66 houses and some 400 residents. Red Cross officials have noted that 150 people might be missing, presumed dead.

Hundreds of rescue workers are at work in 14 districts. The authorities have issued warning of possible mudslides. The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) reported that Colombo is the most affect district.

As water levels keep rising, residents in Wellampitiya, Kollonnawa, kotikawatta, Sedawatta, Sinhapura, kohilawatta and Oruthotawatta have also been told to move out. Most have found shelter in schools, temples, and churches.

In Aranayaka, a village some 100 km north-east from Colombo, a landslide buried scores of houses. Troops brought 150 survivors to safety, but there is little hope for others.

In the early afternoon, President Maithripala Sirisena visited the flooded areas, meeting survivors. He told them that the government’s priority remains searching for more survivors.

In southern India, the authorities are on alert as the heavy rains move towards the Indian states of Kerala and Nadu.

In Chennai (Tamil Nadu), streets are flooded, but far less than last December when hundreds were killed. As they move further north, the rains are expected to reach Bangladesh.

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