Sri Lankan Fears 100 People Buried in Landslide Are Dead

Sri Lankan officials said the 100 people missing in a landslide are probably dead in one of the tropical island’s worst natural disasters.

“No survivors have yet been found by rescuers,” said Disaster Management Center official Sarath Kumara in Colombo, adding the odds are the number of missing won’t change following the tragedy two days ago.

Rescuers using sniffer dogs continued digging into about 30 feet (10 meters) of mud at the tea estate in central Badulla district 220 kilometers (137 miles) from the capital Colombo. The packed soil provides little room for air pockets, they said.

The landslip may be the nation’s worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami that killed more than 30,000 people. The island is famous for Ceylon tea and some plantations are tourist attractions. No foreigners were at the disaster site, according to Sri Lankan officials.

The confirmed death toll stands at three for now, according to the DMC. Landslide warnings were issued for Badulla and the adjoining hill town of Nuwara Eliya on Oct. 28 amid retreating monsoon rains.

The tea industry, mostly located in the central highlands, contributes about 2 percent of Sri Lanka’s $67 billion economy.

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