Friday 23 February 2018

Sri Lankan death toll from mudslides rises to 151

Stranded Sri Lankan flood victims wait to be evacuated (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
Stranded Sri Lankan flood victims wait to be evacuated (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
People wade through a flooded street in Colombo (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
Sri Lankan villagers prepare to bury landslide victims at a cemetery in Bellana village, in Kalutara district, Sri Lanka (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

The death toll in Sri Lanka's mudslides disaster has risen to 151 with 111 others still missing.

Search and rescue head Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe said he does not expect any more survivors to be found as rescuers pulled out more bodies.

The country's health minister said 102,218 displaced people were being sheltered in 339 relief centres and special medical teams were sent to the affected areas, with medicine taken by air to hospitals where access was cut off.

Access roads are still blocked in some parts due to flooding, and fuel shortages have been reported.

Soldiers took advantage of a lull in the rain to clear road access to most affected areas while boats reached others. People waded knee-deep in floodwaters to reach army trucks bringing relief supplies and taking away evacuees.

More rains are forecast for Monday, threatening further misery to more than 100,000 people displaced in western and southern areas after the island was hit by two days of torrential rain.

The UN said it was assisting in relief efforts in response to a government appeal.

It promised to donate water purification tablets, tents and other supplies for the displaced. India sent a shipload of goods, while the United States and Pakistan also promised to send relief supplies.

Mudslides have become common during the monsoon season in Sri Lanka as land has been heavily deforested to grow export crops such as tea and rubber.

A massive landslide killed more than 100 people in central Sri Lanka last May.


Press Association

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