Sri Lanka confirms 100 dead in mudslides; 99 missing

Sri Lankan Buddhist monks and villagers travel in a makeshift raft in a flooded area at Wehangalla village in Kalutara district, Sri Lanka, Saturday, May 27, 2017. AP
Sri Lanka has appealed for outside help as the death toll from floods and mudslides rose Saturday to 100 with 99 others missing.
The Disaster Management Center said more than 27,000 people have been displaced.
The military used large armored vehicles and boats to transport people to safety. But some remained trapped in interior villages where boats have been unable to reach.
At an intersection close to Agalawatte, 98 kilometers (60 miles) south of Colombo, the capital, four bodies in coffins were kept in a house, awaiting boats to be taken to a temple where displaced people have taken refuge.
Separately, five members of the same family who were buried in a mudslide — a husband and wife and three teenage children — were laid to rest in a common grave Saturday afternoon. The family\’s eldest son was the only survivor because he was not at home when the disaster occurred.
Residents of Wehangalla village near Agalawatte were marooned as floodwaters swamped most of the buildings up to the roof. They had fled to higher terrain, but four people among them died in a mudslide and three others are missing. They complained that government aid still had not reached the area and they were surviving on food provided by those in nearby villagers.
Muslim fishermen from the nearby coastal town of Beruwala came with their boats to help evacuate those stranded while observing the Ramadan fast.
Sri Lanka\’s government appealed to the United Nations as well as other countries for help with rescue and relief measures.
Mudslides have become common during the monsoon season in the tropical Indian Ocean island as land has been heavily deforested to grow export crops such as tea and rubber.
Last May, a massive landslide killed more than 100 people in central Sri Lanka.
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