Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Sri Lanka races to defuse bombs after depot blast
Colombo (AFP) June 6, 2016

Sri Lankan police were Monday racing to defuse unexploded bombs that fell on villages near the capital overnight and destroyed hundreds of homes, after a huge and deadly fire at an ammunition depot.

At least one soldier burnt to death and thousands of villagers fled their homes after fire broke out at the Salawa military complex late Sunday, triggering a series of explosions that sent shrapnel flying into the air.

Local businessman Neville Nishantha fled with his wife and three children as the explosions began and returned on Monday morning to see his house in ruins.

"A mortar bomb had gone through my roof and hit the living room," Nishantha told AFP.

"A wall collapsed in the bedroom where my three children would have slept."

On Monday police Special Task Force commandos were deployed to defuse multi-barrel rockets, artillery rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar bombs which landed in residential areas.

An AFP photographer saw commandos collecting at least four unexploded rockets, one of which was lodged in the ground outside an abandoned home.

"Forensic experts have examined the site and we have just begun clearing the main roads of all unexploded ordnance," a senior police official told AFP.

An aerial view of the army complex from a nearby mountaintop showed only a water tower remained relatively intact. All the buildings were either completely destroyed or had their roofs blown out.

Nearly 50 people were treated for injuries or smoke inhalation after the fire, which forced the evacuation of the local government hospital. Police said the facility had been badly damaged.

- Blame game -

Former president Mahinda Rajapakse said his administration had planned to relocate the ammunition dump from the built-up area before he was defeated in the January 2015 election.

"My government had plans to relocate this ammunition depot but the new government has failed to execute it," he told AFP.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the devastated area Monday and promised to rebuild destroyed homes, his office said.

Authorities have yet to establish the cause of the fire which began at sundown Sunday and continued until Monday morning.

Government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the national security council was due to review the blast.

"This is a military matter and they must investigate if this was an accident or sabotage," said Senaratne.

One of the affected villages housed widows and wounded veterans from Sri Lanka's long civil war, who had to cross a river to safety.

"We took a boat and went across the Kelani river and took shelter at a temple," said 53-year-old widow Mahilagodage Rohini.

"Most of the houses at our (Swarna Jayanthi) village have been destroyed."

Wasantha Fernando, 45, said he abandoned his home and ran as thick black smoke filled the area.

"When I got back this morning the entire place was covered in ash," he said, adding that his walls had cracked and the house was unstable.

Residents of high-rise buildings in Colombo said they could see the fire at the Salawa military complex, about 36 kilometres (22 miles) east of the capital.

The camp occupies a former plywood factory that was used to store heavy weaponry and ammunition, including rockets.

Sri Lanka's decades-long Tamil separatist war ended in May 2009.

It was the second time in three weeks that residents around the capital had been forced to leave their homes.

Last month, around 200,000 residents of Colombo had to flee floods when the Kelani river burst its banks.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Thousands flee Sri Lanka ammunition depot explosions
Colombo (AFP) June 5, 2016
A series of explosions rocked a military ammunition depot on the edge of Sri Lanka's capital into Monday, sparking huge fires and forcing thousands to flee as debris fell into populated neighbourhoods. Police said the explosions at the Salawa military had diminished in strength but nearby residents were being told to stay away because intermittent blasts were still erupting, 10 hours after t ... read more

Thousands flee Sri Lanka ammunition depot explosions

Sri Lankan monks hold prayers for buried landslide victims

Ecuador needs $3.3 bn to rebuild from quake: government

Signals detected from EgyptAir black box

Calculating the mechanics of a rough sphere

Microsoft wants Windows to open into mixed reality

Believe the hype? How virtual reality could change your life

Mantis shrimp inspires next generation of ultra-strong materials

To fight lionfish invasion, Cuba learns to cook them

Water yields from southern Appalachian watersheds in decline since the 1970s

Hydropower dams worldwide cause continued species extinction

World's first grid-connected tidal array almost complete

Nepal seeks to drain giant glacial lake near Everest

Antarctic coastline images reveal 4 decades of ice loss to ocean

USGS assesses carbon potential of Alaska lands

Bee populations expanded during global warming after the last Ice Age

Study links irrigation to inaccurate climate perception

EU proposes temporary approval of weedkiller glyphosate

Ecologists advise an increase in prescribed grassland burning to maintain ecosystem

Honeybees pick up pesticides from non-crop plants, too

Scientists gain supervolcano insights from Wyoming granite

Paris floods ease but alerts in France's north

France and Germany battle deadly floods

Paris museums on alert as flood chaos hits France, Germany

Chinese UN peacekeeper, 3 civilians die in Mali attacks

Things will get bloody, Nigerian militant group says

DR Congo denies getting pistols from North Korea

Senegal's child beggars show limits of 'apptivism'

Dogs were domesticated not once, but twice

Study: Neanderthals occupied caves earlier than thought

Space-age exploration for pre-historic bones

Remains of rice and mung beans help solve a Madagascan mystery

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement