200 families feared buried following mudslides in Sri Lanka


The Sri Lankan Red Cross has said at least 200 families are still missing after rain-triggered mudslides crashed down on to three villages in central Sri Lanka.

A military spokesman said 16 bodies have been recovered so far, adding around 180 people are known to have survived. The landslides hit on Tuesday night.

Rescuers are searching for people from the villages of Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitya in Kegalle District - these are about 45 miles north of the capital Colombo.

A total of 1,141 people who escaped the disaster are being treated for minor injuries at a nearby school and a Buddhist temple, according to the government.

An elderly Sri Lankan woman and a girl are shifted on a mattress at a flooded area in Colombo

The rains have also caused severe flooding in cities - including Colombo. Tens of thousands of homes were at least partially inundated. And schools have been closed due to the bad weather.

Officials warned that more landslides and lightning strikes could occur in the countryside. More rain is forecast along with rough seas along the coasts.

Mudslides are common in Sri Lanka during the monsoon season - heavy deforestation to clear land for agriculture leaves the countryside exposed.