One Dead, Thousands Evacuated Following Sri Lanka Blast

At least one person has been killed, and thousands have been evacuated, following a fire and a series of explosions, at an ammunition dump, in Sri Lanka.

One soldier was killed and thousands of people were evacuated after a fire and a series of explosions on Sunday at one of Sri Lanka’s biggest ammunition dumps, where the army stores heavy weapons, officials said.

Explosions at the army camp at Salawa, 33 km (20 miles) east of the capital Colombo, continued for more than five hours and were heard more than 12 km away, local residents said.

The cause was not immediately known and the government ordered an investigation by the police criminal investigation department.

Local television stations showed rocket propelled grenade (RPG) shells and shrapnel that had landed in the middle of a road.

“The fire started in a small arms store and spread. There were heavy weapons such as artillery shells stored in the proximity but the damage is still unknown,” Sagala Ratnayake, minister of law and order, told media.

One soldier was killed and one injured in the blasts, an army spokesman said.

Sources from two nearby hospitals said at least five people were being treated for injuries. The soldier died on admission due to loss of blood, they said.

Pradeep Koddipily, spokesman for Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre, said residents living in a 5km radius had been asked to evacuate immediately. Thousands of people have already been evacuated fearing further explosions.

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Categories: Asia, Sri Lanka, World

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