Colombo, April 15 (NIA) – The death toll from a garbage mountain collapse in Meetotamulla, just outside Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, rose to 16 by Saturday afternoon as rescue teams continued with search operations, Disaster Management Officials said.
Disaster Management Center Spokesperson, Pradeep Kodippilli said that tri forces along with rescue teams were continuing the clear the area and residents were being relocated to safer locations.
Kodippilli said that 12 people continued to receive treatment for their injuries.
The 300 foot (91 meter high) massive garbage dump collapsed on Friday evening, burying over 100 homes and displacing over 600 people as the country celebrated its traditional New Year.
Police said many residents had evacuated their homes before the disaster because the heavy rains on the previous day had caused garbage slides and damaged the foundations of many homes.
Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha De Silva said the state would bear the funeral expenses of the victims and forces had begun relocating people who were under threat.
De Silva said that no more garbage would also be dumped at this site and two temporary sites had been identified.
“It’s ironic that it was only a few weeks back that agreements were signed to begin waste to energy projects to finally deal with this perennial issue,” he said. However, he said that it’s unfortunate that even though payments had been made for those families under risk of land slides to move out some had not done so. They had even been advised to leave as recently as two days ago.