144 missing in Aranayake landslide; 80 houses destroyed and two other areas face risk of landslide
144 persons have been reported missing following the landslide at Samasara Kanda in Aranayake.
According to the Divisional Secretary of Aranayake, Sam Faizer, 80 houses have been destroyed due to the landslide.
Meanwhile, bodies of 17 victims who were buried alive due to the landslide which occurred on Tuesday have been recovered.
The search operations which commenced for the 2nd day this morning have been disrupted due to the showers prevailing in the area.
However, Commander of Security Force Headquarters-West Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, who is in charge of the rescue operations at Aranayake and Bulathkohupitiya, noted that operations would continue despite the adverse weather.
Final rites of the bodies of the identified victims are scheduled to take place tomorrow.
Following a special meeting held at the Aranayake Divisional Secretariat today, a decision was taken to bury the relevant bodies at the Hathgampola Public cemetery.
1700 persons displaced following the landslide at Saamasara Kanda are taking refuge at 9 relief camps including the temples and schools in Aranayake area.
The Disaster Management Centre noted that measures have been taken to provide all required facilities for the affected.
Meanwhile, Police request the residents of outstations not to visit the landslide affected area, as it would pose a danger to the visitors and disrupt the ongoing operations.
In addition, 200 persons have been evacuated from Udagama, Ganthuna area in Aranayake due to a risk of landslide.
Meanwhile, another 80 families have also been evacuated from Balumgala kanda area in Ambalakanda Aranayake due to the risk of landslide.
The National Building Research Organization says that 84 landslide-prone locations in Kegalle District have been identified.
Addressing a media briefing held in Colombo today, the Director of Landslide Research and Landslide studies R.M.S. Bandara urged the residents of Kegalle and Ratnapura districts to be vigilant of further landslides.