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Sri Lanka landslide: 38 feared dead as death toll revised down

They bring about wet and dry seasons in much of the region, and have a large impact on local ecosystems.

Rescue teams searching for bodies after a deadly landslide on a Sri Lankan tea plantation have revised the numbers of missing or dead down to 38.

Some estimates from the authorities had initially suggested as many as 300 may have perished in Wednesday's disaster.

Entire families were lost in the mudslide, officials said.

The government warned there may be more landslides due to the monsoon rains, which have also hampered rescue efforts.

The tragedy struck the Meeriyabedda tea plantation near the town of Haldummulla, about 200km (120 miles) east of the capital Colombo, on Wednesday morning.

Heavy rainfall caused part of a hillside to sheer off and crash into the tea estate, burying workers' homes in nine metres (30ft) of mud.

Rescue teams are still trying to recover bodies, with soldiers using mechanical diggers and sniffer dogs to root through the debris.

So far six bodies have been recovered.

There was confusion over the initial casualty figures because many of those feared dead had actually been at work or school when their homes were destroyed, a police official told the AFP news agency.

The recent rains have caused problems across the country, with sections of several national motorways being washed away.

In June, monsoon rains triggered landslides in Sri Lanka that killed at least 22 people.

The rains are caused by winds in the Indian Ocean and South Asia. They bring about wet and dry seasons in much of the region, and have a large impact on local ecosystems.

BBC
01/11
7 Points
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Sri Lanka landslide: Hopes fade for '100 buried'

Hopes are fading for victims of a landslide which may have buried more than 100 people in central Sri Lanka.Hundreds of troops have been using heavy equipment to dig through tonnes of mud that buried the tin-roofed homes of workers at a tea plantation. Correspondents say that compiling a definitive figure has been made harder because an office where village records were maintained was destroyed in the landslide. Email [email protected] with your stories.Read the terms and conditions.

Hopes are fading for victims of a landslide which may have buried more than 100 people in central Sri Lanka.

Hundreds of troops have been using heavy equipment to dig through tonnes of mud that buried the tin-roofed homes of workers at a tea plantation.

It is still not clear how many people are trapped in the disaster which was caused by heavy rain.

The authorities have evacuated hundreds of people from nearby villages due to fears of fresh landslides.

Bad weather has been hampering rescue and recovery efforts.

"We are suspending the search operation because it is not safe to work in this rain," Maj Gen Mano Perera told journalists, AFP news agency reports. "We hope to start work tomorrow morning if the weather improves.

"There were no concrete structures which could have acted as air traps for victims to survive," he said, adding that no survivors or bodies had been found on Thursday.

Officials said on Wednesday that eight bodies had been recovered.

The deadly mudslide hit the Meeriyabedda tea plantation near the town of Haldummulla, about 200km (120 miles) east of the capital Colombo, on Wednesday morning. Part of a mountainside crashed into the tea estate, burying some of the workers' homes in 9m (30ft) of mud and debris.

An estimated 100 people are still listed as missing, the national Disaster Management Centre (DMC) says - locals say the figure is about 200.

Some of those originally classified as missing were subsequently discovered to be at work or in school. Correspondents say that compiling a definitive figure has been made harder because an office where village records were maintained was destroyed in the landslide.

In June, monsoon rains triggered landslides in Sri Lanka that killed at least 22 people and forced thousands from their homes.

Monsoon rains are caused by winds in the Indian Ocean and south Asia. They bring about wet and dry seasons in much of the region, and have a large impact on local ecosystems.

Are you, or do you know anyone, in the area? Email [email protected] with your stories.

Read the terms and conditions.

BBC
31/10
1 Points
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Sri Lanka landslide rescue effort is intensified

More than 300 survivors spent Wednesday night at two schools near the Meeriyabedda tea plantation.About 500 military personnel are said to be involved in the rescue operation. The deadly mudslide hit the Meeriyabedda tea plantation near the town of Haldummulla, about 200 km (120 miles) east of the capital Colombo, on Wednesday morning.Ministers told the Daily Mirror newspaper in Colombo that 150 people were trapped in the debris.

Rescue workers in Sri Lanka have intensified their search for survivors of a tea plantation landslide in the centre of the country which is feared to have buried more than 100 people.

Five excavators normally used to dig trenches joined the search effort at first light on Thursday, military sources told the AFP news agency.

Officials have already warned there is little chance of finding survivors.

It is not certain how many people are trapped in the debris.

The deadly mudslide hit the Meeriyabedda tea plantation near the town of Haldummulla, about 200 km (120 miles) east of the capital Colombo, on Wednesday morning.

Ministers told the Daily Mirror newspaper in Colombo that 150 people were trapped in the debris. The Island newspaper reported that as many as 250 people were buried alive.

However Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told AFP after visiting the site on Wednesday that the total was closer to about 100 people.

He said that most of those who were classified as missing were subsequently discovered to be at work or in school.

Correspondents say that compiling a definitive figure has been made harder because an office where village records were maintained was destroyed in the landslide.

Mr Amaraweera said that the area surrounding the tea plantation had also been made unstable by the recent heavy monsoon rains and that the recovery operation would have to proceed "cautiously".

One witness told AFP that there was a noise like thunder when part of a mountainside crashed into the tea estate, burying some of the workers' homes in nine metres (30ft) of mud and debris.

Mud covered submerged many homes without a trace, leaving only their roofs visible.

More than 300 survivors spent Wednesday night at two schools near the Meeriyabedda tea plantation.

About 500 military personnel are said to be involved in the rescue operation.

Local MP Udith Lokubandara told the BBC that many parents had returned home after leaving their children at school when the landslip happened.

"It is a very sorry situation because there are many children who have become orphans," he said.

Sections of several national highways have been washed away by the rains, reports say.

The Disaster Management Centre had issued warnings of more mudslides and falling rocks later htis week.

In June, monsoon rains triggered landslides in Sri Lanka that killed at least 22 people and forced thousands from their homes.

Monsoon rains are caused by winds in the Indian Ocean and south Asia. They bring about wet and dry seasons in much of the region, and have a large impact on local ecosystems.

Are you, or do you know anyone, in the area? Email [email protected] with your stories.

Read the terms and conditions.

BBC
30/10
3 Points
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