Troops join rescue effort after landslides kill 15

? Military troops and helicopters intensified rescue operations in Sri Lanka’s central tea growing region today, after landslides killed at least 15 people and left thousands homeless, officials said.

The landslides damaged at least 1,600 homes, driving an estimated 9,000 people from their homes in villages near Nuwara Eliya, a mountainous region in central Sri Lanka known for its lush tea gardens, the Defense Ministry said.

“Our forces have redoubled efforts and we have rescued dozens of people,” military spokesman, Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said in the capital, Colombo. He had no specific figure on the number of people rescued.

He said the military had deployed helicopters and 100 soldiers to search for those feared trapped by the landslides, which were triggered Friday after heavy rains. It was unclear how many people were believed buried.