Colombo, AP—A mudslide triggered by monsoon rains buried scores of workers’ houses at a tea plantation in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 250 missing, an official said.
The mudslide struck at around 7:30 am and wiped out 120 workers’ homes at the Meeriabedda tea plantation in Badulla district, 135 miles (218 km) east of the capital, Colombo, said Lal Sarath Kumara, an official from the Disaster Management Center.
By early afternoon, rescue workers had pulled out 10 bodies that were buried by the mudslide, Kumara said. More than 250 other people were missing, he said.
The military mobilized troops to help with the rescue operation.
Video from state television broadcaster Rupavahini showed huge mounds of earth covering the homes, with only parts of the roofs visible on some of the houses. It also showed more muddy water gushing from the hilltops, in a sign that there could be further slides.
Most of Sri Lanka has seen heavy rain over the past few weeks, and the Disaster Management Center had issued warnings for mudslides and falling rocks.
The current monsoon season in the Indian Ocean island nation runs from October through December.
Sri Lanka, formerly called Ceylon, is one of the world’s leading producers of tea. Most Ceylon tea, as it is known, is produced in Sri Lanka’s central hills, where the high altitudes and rainfall provide favorable conditions.