“I rushed to find my house no longer there, half the hill had slid down. My husband, sister and her husband have not been found.” -description of the scene by a local resident in Sri Lanka (source: Al Jazeera.)
On Wednesday, a mudslide buried over 140 homes in the Sri Lankan village of Koslanda, with 10 confirmed dead and 150 missing. After the mudslide, rescuer efforts to find those missing were thwarted because of continuing monsoon rainfall in the area. The mudslide effected both homes and a large tea plantation. Many were away at work or school when the disaster occurred at 7:30 am, but the search continues for those tea plantation workers and individuals that are still missing from their homes.
Today, October 30th, those frantic searches for those victims still missing are losing hope of finding survivors. Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has reported that based on the scene he visited at the large tea plantation effected by the landslide that finding survivors is not very likely, but said that the number of workers were “fewer than 100”.
The region’s military are also sending 2000 more troops to help with the ongoing searches.President Mahinda Rajapaksa has visited the effected area and spoke with residents currently taking shelter nearby. The National Child Protection Authority is also being asked to step in to care for those 75 children orphaned by the landslide.
In the past, those who lived in the area were reportedly warned by government officials of the dangers of mudslides if they chose to live in the village. “There are 50-70 families living in my neighborhood in the bottom of a mountain. If a mudslide happens we all will be buried,” said Vettiyan Yogeswaran, a local resident, luckily unaffected by the landslide. “We want to leave but we have not been given a proper alternative.” (source: CNSNews)
According to Sri Lanka’s ministry of Disaster Management site, the 5 main forms of natural disasters in Sri Lanka in order of the number of people affected (1974-2004) are floods, droughts, tsunamis, storms, and landslides.
Photo source: Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press