Colombo, April 17 (NIA) – Sri Lankan authorities, on Monday continued search operations to find for more victims buried under rubble following a garbage dump collapse in Meetotamulla, just outside capital Colombo.
By Monday morning, troops had recovered 30 bodies, including the bodies of six children and the army said they would continue searching for victims as they had no exact figure of those missing.
“No one has actually come forward and given any information as to how many are exactly missing. Therefore we will continue the search,” Military Spokesperson Brigadier Roshan Seneviratne said.
Over 1000 troops were involved in the rescue and search operations.
Organizer of the ‘Movement against Meethotamulla garbage dump’ Nuwan Bopage told Xinhua that according to information by the residents, at least 10 more victims were buried under the rubble.
He said residents remained in hope to find the bodies of the victims so that their final rites could be performed.
On Monday, the funeral of a further 15 victims were held in Meetotamulla with hundreds of people attending to pay their final respects and offer their condolences to the grieving family members.
Hundreds remained displaced and were in urgent need of basic facilities such as water, food, mosquito nets, milk and medicines.
Residents also urged the government to relocate them to safer homes soon, which were within the Colombo city limits.
“The government has to allocate lands which are closeby in order to resettle the families. We hope it will be done soon,” Bopage said.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, over the weekend vowed to shut down the dump, whichhad absorbed much of Colombo’s garbage for several years as much of the capital had undergone extensive renovations.
Wickremesinghe, who reached Vietnam on Sunday afternoon has decided to cut short his visit because of the tragedy at Meetotamulla.
President Maithripala Sirisena had also instructed government authorities to provide relief to the victims, without any financial restraints.
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.