3 dead, 200 missing in Sri Lanka mudslide after heavy rains: Official

COLOMBO (AFP) - Around 200 people were reported missing and three confirmed dead after heavy monsoon rains triggered mudslides in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday, disaster officials said.

"We have reports of 140 houses getting washed away in the mudslides," Mr Sarath Kumara, a spokesman for the national Disaster Management Centre (DMC), told AFP. "We have recovered three bodies and there are reports that up to 200 people may be missing."

Police, security personnel and local volunteers were involved in a major operation to search for survivors, Mr Kumara said.

A local hospital source said that two men and a woman rescued from the mud had been brought in for treatment.

Sections of several national highways had also been washed away by the rains.

The disaster struck in an area prone to mudslides and residents had been repeatedly warned to move to safer areas as monsoon rains lashed the tea-growing region, the DMC said.

At least 13 people were killed in mudslides in and around the capital Colombo in June.

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