Sri Lanka Steps Up Mudslide Rescue Efforts As More Rain Hits

A mudslide killed at least 10 people, with about 150 still missing in a town about 123 miles from the country's capital.
Posted at 7:45 AM, Oct 30, 2014

The government of Sri Lanka is stepping up rescue efforts after a massive mudslide killed at least 10 people, with about 150 still missing in a town in the southern part of the island country.

According to the BBC, a government official estimated "about 100 people are feared dead" as hundreds of military personnel sift through the piles of mud-covered wreckage on a tea plantation about 125 miles east of its capital city, Colombo.

There are conflicting reports on just how many are missing from the disaster. Initial estimates had up to 500 missing, another local outlet cited 192, but most media cites say it's more around 150.

A local resident described the scene to Al Jazeera"I rushed to find my house no longer there, half the hill had slid down. My husband, sister and her husband have not been found."

Regardless of the count, officials are scrambling to find any survivors. And they now have another concern to worry about — the forecast, which has already impeded their progress.

CNN: "The problem is, they're continuing to see the rainfall and so, with this, the threat for more. This is over 100 millimeters since Monday and it looks like in the forecast, there's going to be much more."

Rescue efforts have stalled essentially since they began as more rainfall swept through the area and crews dealt with the threat of more mudslides. A United Nations spokesperson says it's ready to deploy humanitarian aid if it's called on. (Video via Euronews)

The president of Sri Lankaalso brought in several large industrial excavators to help relief workers remove debris and dig through the mud-soaked areas in search of survivors.

Local news outlet The Island says this mudslide is being called "the worst natural disaster since the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004," referring to the disaster a decade ago that affected several countries and killed hundreds of thousands.