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Sri Lanka pleads for help as death toll from floods and mudslides hits 100

Sri Lanka officials appealed for outside help Saturday as the death toll from floods and mudslides rose to 100 with 99 others missing.

The Disaster Management Center said more than 2,900 people have been displaced.

The military used large armored vehicles and boats to transport people to safety, but some remained trapped in interior villages that boats have been unable to reach.

At an intersection close to Agalawatte, 60 miles south of the capital Colombo, four bodies in coffins were kept in a house, awaiting boats to be taken to a temple where displaced people have taken refuge.

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Residents of Wehangalla village near Agalawatte were marooned as floodwaters swamped most of the buildings up to the roof. They had fled to higher terrain, but four people among them died in a mudslide and three others were missing. They complained that government aid still had not reached the area and that they were surviving on food provided by nearby villagers.

The Sri Lankan government appealed to the United Nations and other countries for help with rescue and relief measures.

Mudslides have become common during the monsoon season in the tropical Indian Ocean island as land has been heavily deforested to grow export crops such as tea and rubber.

Last May, a massive landslide killed more than 100 people in central Sri Lanka.

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