Fears for missing families
Torrential rains have sent landslides cascading over three villages in Sri Lanka, and at least 200 families were feared buried under the mud yesterday, the Sri Lankan Red Cross said. Sixteen bodies have already been recovered and about 180 people have been rescued from the enormous piles of mud and debris unleashed about 5pm on Tuesday, according to military spokesman Brig Jayanath Jayaweera. More than 300 soldiers have been deployed to search for survivors in the villages of Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitya in Kegalle District, about 72km north of Colombo, the capital, Jayaweera said. Heavy fog and electricity outages, as well as the instability of the ground, were complicating rescue efforts. At least 200 families were reported missing yesterday, the Sri Lankan Red Cross said. State broadcaster Rupavahini showed images of huge mounds of earth covering houses.