Rescuers are looking for more than 200 families who are missing following massive landslides in a remote area on the slopes of Sri Lanka’s Central Hills. The Sri Lankan Red Cross said the landslides, which struck on Tuesday after three days of heavy rain, buried three villages – Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitya – in Kegalle district.

Red Cross officials said they suspected that at least 220 families were missing, going by government population records. Government officials did not confirm the figure. Seventeen bodies had already been recovered from piles of mud, a military spokesman said, taking to 36 the confirmed, countrywide death toll attributed to the severe weather and flooding. The Red Cross said rescue operations had been hampered because roads leading to the mountainous area north-east of the capital, Colombo, were treacherous. READ MORE