Rescuers were searching on Wednesday for more than 200 families feared buried by mudslides in a remote area in central Sri Lanka. They have recovered 16 bodies so far and about 180 people have been pulled to safety. The missing people are thought to have been inside houses when the landslides hit three villages - Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitya - in the central Aranayake region. More than 300 soldiers were joined by local residents digging through the mud with their hands, sticks and shovels to search for survivors.
I heard a huge sound like a plane crashing into the earth. I opened my door. I could not believe my eyes, as I saw something like a huge fireball rolling down the mountain and again a huge sound
Survivor A G Kamala, 52
Torrential rains, which lasted more than three days and have forced more than 196,000 people from their homes, triggered the disaster. The same rains that unleashed the mudslides have also caused severe flooding in a number of cities. Heavy fog and power cuts, as well as the instability of the ground, are said to be hampering rescue efforts. Another 11 deaths from electrocution and smaller landslides elsewhere were reported in the past few days.
I still can’t locate my family. I still don’t know what happened to them
Survivor M W Dharmadasa