COLOMBO, SRI LANKA: Rescue workers recovered 16 bodies buried in mudslides caused by heavy rains in central Sri Lanka, raising the death toll due to bad weather to 27, government officials said on Wednesday. Rescue work was continuing as more rain was forecast.
Military spokesman Brig. Jayanath Jayaweera said the 16 victims had lived in houses buried by the mudslides that occurred Tuesday evening. The two villages affected are in the Kegalle district, about 72 kilometers (45 miles) from the capital, Colombo.
More than 300 soldiers were deployed for the rescue mission and they rescued 150 people trapped in Aranayake village and recovered 13 bodies from the area, Jayaweera said.
In the other village, known as Bulathkohupitiya, troops recovered three bodies, he said, adding that troops are continuing the search and rescue operations.
Pradeep Kodippili, the spokesman of the government’s Disaster Management Center, confirmed the death toll and said the numbers of people and houses caught in the mudslides were not available.
The center had reported 11 deaths as of Tuesday due to landslides and electrocution.
The Meteorological Department has forecast more rain and rough seas for much of the island nation.