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Toll in Lanka dump collapse rises to 28

COLOMBO

Sri Lanka has moved over 400 families to temporary shelters after tonnes of rotting garbage collapsed onto a slum on Friday, killing at least 28 people.

Some 145 homes were destroyed when the 300-foot (90-metre) rubbish mountain came crashing down on Friday afternoon at Kolonnawa on the northeastern edge of Colombo. Police say many more buildings were damaged and could collapse at any time.

Hundreds of soldiers have kept up the search for survivors amid reports that seven people from four families were still missing after the disaster, which followed heavy rain the previous day and a fire hours earlier.

It came as the country celebrated the traditional new year and followed a warning to parliament that the 23 million tonnes of rotting garbage posed a serious health hazard.

Disaster management officials said 1,700 people had been moved to temporary shelters in state schools while the government looked for alternative accommodation.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was visiting Japan at the time, said arrangements had been made to clear away the garbage dump, but it came crashing down before work could begin.

Reuters