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63 deaths reported, hundreds missing as heavy rains continue in Sri Lanka.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- The death toll from Sri Lanka's flash floods and landslides rose to 63 on Friday as water levels in many districts continued to rise owing to heavy rains, the Disaster Management Center said.

Sri Lanka's central Kegalle District has so far reported the highest number of deaths with 34 people killed after two massive landslides hit the district on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Rescue teams are continuing with their efforts to search for those missing under the mud and rock and have so far recovered 16 bodies in Aranayake while 144 are still buried under the debris. The landslide which struck on Tuesday evening, buried three villages and has been recorded as the worst in Sri Lanka's history.

Teams have also recovered 14 bodies from Bulathkohupitiya and are searching for a further 15 people trapped under the debris when a landslide struck on Wednesday morning destroying 6 rows of houses.

The army said that additional troops had been deployed in Aranayake and Bulathkohupitiya to continue their search operations but efforts were being hampered due to heavy rains.

More than 450,000 people have been affected by floods and landslides across the island country due to heavy rains and strong winds which began on Saturday evening.

Several people remained trapped in many areas across the country and the Disaster Management Center said rescue efforts were continuing.

The DMC on Thursday warned that water levels of the Kelani River was also rising and people residing along the river banks had been evacuated.

People in the hilly areas have also been warned to self evacuate if they observe any signs of landslides.

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in a special statement to the nation on Thursday urged the public living in flood-hit areas to evacuate their homes if heavy rains continue.

Wickremesinghe said that security would be tightened in districts across the country from Friday, to protect belongings and properties of families who would need to be evacuated.

In the latest weather update, the Meteorology Department said that a cyclonic storm which had formed in the Bay of Bengal was now moving away from the island but heavy winds and rains would continue in many districts for the next few days. (Cihan/Xinhua) Cihan CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Geographic Code:9SRIL
Date:May 20, 2016
Words:390
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