Sri Lanka: Cataclysm on New Year Eve — 10 Died, Dozens Wounded, and Hundreds of Houses damaged

(April 15, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) At least ten people have died so far following the collapse of a section of the garbage dump in Meethotamulla, Colombo suburb yesterday, when the people of Sri Lanka were celebrating the traditional New Year.

According to a National hospital spokesperson, six females and four males were among the dead. Further, among those killed in the tragedy were 13-year-old boy and two female students aged 15years and 16-years.

The police stated that a further 11 persons are currently receiving treatment at the Colombo National hospital.

Meanwhile, the Army personnel conducting rescue operations had managed to save the lives of three persons trapped beneath the collapsed buildings.

Further rescue operations in search of those trapped beneath the debris are continuing.

The tri forces, fire brigade, police and STF are currently engaged in rescue operations. According to the Police Spokesman DIG Priyantha Jayakody, there was severe damage that was caused to the surrounding buildings due to the collapse of the garbage mountain.

With the aim of gathering information regarding the missing and those affected by the Meethotamulla tragedy, an information gathering centre has been established at the Meethotamulla Mihindu Vidyalaya.

The tri forces spokesmen urged those affected by the tragedy to provide details of their family members to this information centre.

It is estimated that the collapsed section of the garbage dump is around 800 metres.

Meanwhile, enraged residents had also set fire to a backhoe that was stationed at the garbage dump.

The residents of the area had staged protests last month urging the authorities to remove the garbage dump from Meethotamulla.
They lamented that the residents were facing many health hazards due to the garbage dump. These residents continue to urge the authorities to remove this garbage dump from Meethotamulla, while accusing the area MP, S.M. Marikkar of not paying attention to the problem.

Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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