Two major landslides that struck in the wake of torrential rains which lashed the Ratnapura and Nuwara Eliya districts on Sunday night killed at least five people and the floods displaced about 8000 families.
With continuous rain and gale-force winds being forecast, the authorities have advised people living in low-lying areas and on hill slopes to move to safer locations.
Sabaragamuwa DIG Neville Wijesinghe said around midnight on Sunday four people including an infant of the same family were buried alive due to a landslide at Rassagala estate in Ratnapura . ?When the police and other rescue teams arrived at the scene, the house was buried in thick layers of mud and the rescue team had to dig for several hours to retrieve the four bodies,? the DIG said.
The victims were identified as Thiruchelvam (38), Sumila Devy (26), S. Vicky (4) and Jesmine (3 months). The family had come to the area from Bogawantalawa and worked as labours in the estate, he said.
DIG Wijesinghe also said a large number of families had been evacuated from the area due to landslide threats.
Ratnapura District Secretary Malani Premaratne said heavy rains were experienced in the district during the past four days resulting in several low-lying areas going under water.
The water level of the Kalu Ganga had increased to several feet and the levels are expected to rise further if rains continued, she said.
She said already about 8000 families in Alapatha, Kalawana, Pelmadulla and several other areas had been affected due to the floods, which had made key roads impassable.
?We had taken immediate action to provide dry rations to the affected families?, she said.
The Navy, Army and other rescue parties are also placed on alert to meet any emergency.
In Dikoya a 48-year old woman was buried alive when her house crashed down due to a landslide on Sunday night. Three more people buried in the rubble were rescued by the police and they are now being hospitalised at the Dikoya hospital in a critical condition.
The Dick Oya victim had been identified as R. A. Mary.
Meanwhile, due to continuous rains in hill country, several highways, including the Ginigathhena-Haputale and Hatton-Dikoya roads had been blocked due to fallen of tree and landslides.
A spokesman for the Metrological Department said Southwest monsoon conditions have become fairly active due to the formation of disturbances in the North of the country.
Prevailing rainy conditions are likely to continue in the Southwestern parts with isolated but fairly heavy rains in the Ratnapura, Kegalle, Kalutara, Colombo, Gampaha, Galle, Matara, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya districts, he said.