Toll in Sri Lanka rains rises to 42

Colombo, May 19 (IANS) The toll in torrential rains in Sri Lanka on Thursday rose to 42 as search and rescue operations for survivors continued, especially in the country’s central region that was hit by landslides leaving 134 missing.

Search operations chief in the central province of Sabaragamuva, Sudantha Ranasinghe, told EFE news on Thursday that there were “no new developments” in the Aranayake municipal region where three villages were hit hard by a landslide on Tuesday night.

Authorities said 134 people remained missing, while there were speculations that hundreds could have been buried beneath the mud.

In neighbouring Bulathkohupitiya, five more bodies were recovered, taking the toll in the area to ten, while six people remain missing, said Ranasinghe.

A source from the Disaster Management Centre confirmed the toll with 28 others injured, while 418,000 people were affected on the entire island, and around 300,000 were moved to safer places.

The entire country was grappling with damaged roads and electricity supply issues, with 20,000 people evacuated from Colombo on Thursday, army spokesman Jayanath Jayaweera said.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena visited Aranayake on Wednesday to meet the victims and promised full support from the government.

Hundreds of soldiers, engineers and doctors from the army have been deployed in affected areas for relief work.

A depression over the Bay of Bengal has caused heavy rainfall and strong winds in central and northern Sri Lanka.

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