Text contributions by Himal Kotelawala
Four days into the Meethotamulla disaster, rescue and cleanup operations are still underway. Police and tri-forces personnel can still be seen digging through the rubble, braving the elements, doing their utmost to bring closure to the hundreds of people affected by this tragedy. Our photographer was at the site to document the progress on the work being carried out.
A cat, searching through the rubble, pauses in front of a group of soldiers. The forces and police have been on duty since the collapse on Friday, carrying out search and rescue and relief efforts.
Two local men video and photograph the ongoing clearing work.
The site of the disaster draws a lot of spectators from all around the area, despite repeated requests by the authorities for civilians to stay away. Locals can be seen taking photos and discussing the incident.
An army officer oversees the clearing of the area, CDMA phone in hand.
A group of soldiers stands on a roof, observing the ongoing clearance efforts.
Troops waiting for the excavator to clear the way.
The line of destruction: just a couple of days ago, this area was full of houses. Then full of rubble. And now already cleared.
A soldier is seen installing lights on an electricity tower that residents say caught fire as the garbage gave way. Clearing up the whole area will take weeks, so night shifts are usual.
The living room of a half-destroyed house. The scene looks surreal, with the lightbulb still hanging from a rafter and a child’s school bag ready for the first day of school in the new year.
Bystanders, often people directly affected by the disaster, come and go during the day, taking in the damage. Now the sun sets and it’s time to go back to their temporary shelters.
More troops await clearing.
As dusk turns into night, some residents in the area continue to observe the clearance work.
The wrath of the garbage mountain: a completely wrecked tuk tuk and other vehicle parts that got pulled out of the rubble show the immense power and destruction this disaster brought with it.
Go here for Roar’s initial coverage on the disaster. You can also check out our previous photostory on the issues faced by families living near the dump. Follow @Roarlk on Twitter for updates.