Sri Lanka floods: Death toll rises to 63, rescue efforts continue

Colombo: The toll in the torrential rains and landslides in Sri Lanka on Friday rose to 63, the Disaster Management Centre said.

The island nation's central Kegalle district has so far reported the highest number of deaths with 34 people killed after two massive landslides on Tuesday and Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Rescue teams have recovered 16 bodies in Aranayake while 144 are still buried under the debris.

The landslide which struck on Tuesday evening, buried three villages and has been recorded as the worst in Sri Lanka's history.

Sri Lankan army soldiers carry out a search operation in Elangapitiya village in Aranayaka, some 72 kilometers (45 miles) north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, May 19, 2016. Heavy rains Thursday continued to pound the central Sri Lankan region where at least three villages have already been swallowed by mountains of mud, forcing army soldiers and police to suspend rescue work. AP

Sri Lankan army soldiers carry out a search operation in Elangapitiya village in Aranayaka. AP

Teams have also recovered 14 bodies from Bulathkohupitiya and are searching for 15 other people trapped under the debris when a landslide struck on Wednesday morning destroying six rows of houses.

The army said that additional troops had been deployed in Aranayake and Bulathkohupitiya.

More than 450,000 people have been affected by floods and landslides across the island country.

The DMC on Thursday warned that water levels of the Kelani river was also rising and people residing along the river banks were evacuated.

People in the hilly areas have also been warned to self evacuate if they observe any signs of landslides.

In the latest weather update, the Meteorology Department said that a cyclonic storm which had formed in the Bay of Bengal was now moving away from the island but heavy winds and rains would continue in many districts for the next few days.

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Updated Date: May 20, 2016 12:19:02 IST

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