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COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has assured the people affected by the collapse of a garbage mountain outside the capital last week that the government would build houses for them on an emergency footing. Ninety-eight houses were damaged in the disaster.

Mr Wickremesinghe, who cut short an official visit to Vietnam and returned home on Wednesday morning, visited Meetotatulla to assess the extent of destruction.

The prime minister promised to remove the dump from the area “as soon as possible”.

The official death toll mounted to 33 on Wednesday while at least 30 others were listed as missing.

The 300-foot garbage dump collapsed on Friday evening, burying hundreds of houses, displacing over 1,000 people and unleashing a torrent of public fury.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2017