Approximately 300 estimated dead in landslide caused by monsoon rains
A devastating landslide occurred over a tea plantation in Sri Lanka as hopes for finding survivors are lowering. The death toll is numbered at 100 to a figure as high as 300.
“I don’t think there could be any survivors,” said disaster management minister Mahinda Amaraweera after visiting the site in Haldummulla, 120 miles (190km) from the capital, Colombo.
“It is about 100 people who have been buried as there were some children and some estate workers who were not at their houses at the time of the disaster,” he said. However the country’s disaster management claim it could be up to 300 people.
The centre said heavy monsoon rains caused 150 houses to be buried in the landslide, covering two miles and engulfing the village.
Children returning from school were shocked to see their homes gone, nearly 300 people including the children had to sleep in the nearby school after warnings of another landslide.
There have been numerous landslides since mid-September due to heavy rains, this has caused damage to roads but no casualties. Villagers have been previously warned in the years of 2005 and 2013 to move from the area due to the danger of these hazards.
Roads in the central districts of Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, and Badulla were blocked due to landslides.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa tweeted that military aid had been sent to speed up search and rescue operations.
The people living in the affected hilly area are mostly of Indian Tamil heritage and are descendants of workers brought to Sri Lanka from South India under British rule. They worked on tea, rubber and coffee plantations.