The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) has warned those living near the banks of the Kelani River to leave their homes and move to places of safety in the wake of the fast rising water level of the river.
Update: 13 bodies recovered in Aranayake, 3 in Bulathkohupitiya
Brigadier Jayaweera said the 150 people, who were successfully rescued in Aranayake, were relocated to six camps.
“We have deployed 15 officers and 266 other rankers at rescue missions which are still continuing in Aranayake,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Army said that more than 300 Army Troops with Sniffer-Dogs were deployed at Aranayake and Bulathkohupitiya.
Sniffer-dogs and rappelling teams of Army Commandos, Engineer and Medical Corps troops, heavy machinery, additional equipment, together with a contingent of more than 281 troops of Commandos had reached landslide-affected Siripura, Elangapitiya, Pallebage villages in Aranayake area for immediate search, rescue and relief operations which remained hampered for some time due to swelling waters and torrential rains.
Those operations commenced during the wee hours on Wednesday (18) are continuing with the support of villagers, other volunteer teams and hospital staff who have by now brought more than six ambulances to the affected area for evacuation of the wounded to hospitals. The area remains under a pall of thick mist with rainy clouds, diminishing visibility and physical movements.
In Bulathkohupitiya, 6 line houses in a 12 house row had been completely destroyed in the landslide. More than 53 Sri Lanka National Guard troops under the command of Brigadier P.J Gamage, General Officer Commanding, 14 Division are now at the venue in order to carry out required operations.
Meanwhile, President Maithripala Sirisena today made an inspection tour in Aranayake and met the landslide victims there.
President Sirisena instructed the security personnel who are engaged in rescue operations to expedite the relief measures.
Landslide site in Bulathkohupitiya Pix by Kushan Pathiraja