Apr 16, Colombo: Sri Lanka Police say it is probing whether the collapse of the Meethotamulla garbage dump on Friday was a natural calamity or an act of sabotage.
A 10-member team of geologists of the Peradeniya Univesrity has been summoned to the place of the disaster, the police headquarters said. Officials of mining and excavation divisions as well as a group of judicial medical officials have also been called for investigation.
A section of the mountainous landfill in Meethotamulla collapsed on Friday burying over 40 homes. The death toll from the disaster has risen to 19 by Saturday afternoon, and is expected to rise as an unknown number of people are still missing,
The Police Headquarters further said that entrance routes to the area have been blocked to those who visit the area to watch the tragedy as it has created obstruction for the provision of medical and relief services.
The three armed forces personnel and police have jointly conducted relief operations throughout Saturday to rescue those affected by the disaster.
Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayake engaged in an observation tour on Saturday in Meethotamulla and conducted discussions with the Army Commander and senior officials of the police including the IGP on further measures to be taken.
Police Media Spokesman DIG Priyantha Jayakody said that the Sri Lanka Army, the Police and the Special Task Force (STF) are engaged in operations to remove the layers of soil and debris.
He said there is a threat of re-collapse, therefore, the area has been declared as a danger zone. People have been gone from the threatened areas. He also said that those who came to rob the victims have been arrested.