Aranayake disaster: Search for over 100 to be abandoned

by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Search operations conducted by security forces to trace those still missing due to the recent landslide in Aranayake in the Kegalle District would have to be stopped within the next few days, Officer overseeing the operations at Aranayake, Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe said yesterday.

Maj. Ge, Ranasinghe told the media at the Disaster Management Ministry that 28 bodies and some body parts had been recovered by the security forces. Eight bodies had not yet been identified, he said.

After consulting the relatives and the people living in the area, the security forces would stop the search operations within the next few days, Ranasinghe added.

Over 100 of persons are still missing and they are believed to have been buried under the mud.

Emergency boat services conducted in Colombo during last week had been stopped as the flood waters had receded in many areas, he said.

In Aranayake, over 3,000 people, affected by the landslides, and over 4,000 others have been relocated to 19 safe places since last week.

According to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC), over 20,000 in the people in Kegalle District had been affected by last week's disaster and over 250,000 people distressed by floods.

Meanwhile, State Minister of Lands T.B. Ekanayake said the Survey Department had identified 145,000 blocks of lands for disaster victims in Kegalle, Ratnapura and

Kandy on the recommendations of the DMC and National Building Research Organisation (NBRO).

The government had decided to give 10 to 20 perches of land each to the affected families, he said.

The Housing Development Authority (HDA) would take the responsibility for constructing new houses for the victims, he said.

Meanwhile, the Meteorology Department yesterday said the South-west monsoon condition had now established over the country and therefore showers or thunder showers with strong winds could be expected at times in the Western, North-Western, Southern, Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces.

The NBRO also further extended its landslide warning to Kandy, Ratnapura, Kurunegala, Nuwara Eliya, Matale, Kalutara and Kegalle.


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