Sri Lanka Hunts for 200 Families in Landslide Struck Villages

  • Rescuers recover 16 bodies in central part of island
  • Rain, floods hit Sri Lanka this week due to deep depression

Rescuers are searching for 200 families in central Sri Lanka who are missing after a landslide engulfed three villages following heavy rains on the island nation.

Four camps have been set up in Kegalle district, an area about 100 kilometers northeast of the capital Colombo. Survivors are seeking food and shelter at the camps, according to Mahieash Johney, a spokesman for the Red Cross, which is helping authorities.

Sixteen bodies were recovered on Wednesday, Johney said. Authorities were unable to use heavy equipment in the area due to the muddy conditions and intermittent rains, he said. While the weather department predicts that the depression will move away from the island, strong winds are likely to continue across the country and its shoreline over the next few days.

As many as 350,000 people have been affected by bad weather in Sri Lanka this week, with 19 deaths as of 6 a.m. local time, according to Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Center. In October 2014, nearly 300 were feared missing following a landslide on a tea estate in a district adjoining Kegalle. However the number was later reduced to less than 35. That tragedy was the nation’s worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami that killed more than 30,000 people.

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