We keep listening to the condolence speeches of Megapolis, Disaster Management, Finance Minister, Prime Minister, etc which are quite soothing to our minds, but not to the traumatized folks who have physically suffered.
There were opinions expressed about strengthening Building Regulations and controlling of landfills, etc which may have played a role in the Colombo City inundation.
Most of them have forgotten and failed to mention that the deluge created by the monstrous Kelani River is the result of inability of water to flow out to the sea.
No one has mentioned that Kelani estuary where the river enters into the ocean has been severely blocked by the formation of sand banks (sand walls). During previous monsoons same sand banks were formed, but not as severe as this year.
Newly-built South Harbour Breakwater extending quite far into the ocean has considerably diverted the strong waves and the dynamic forces created by the heavy winds along the breakwater and aligned towards the Kelani outfall. It is the main reason for the formation of higher sand banks, which should have been cleared as soon as possible.
During the famous deluge in 1992, I was at the helm of Sri Lanka land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLLRDC) which was the culprit (later) of allowing unauthorised filling (I would say under political patronage).
As the rain continued through the night nonstop, I got into the double cab with my driver and a large umbrella and boots and hurried towards Dehiwala, Wellawatte and Mutwal Canal outlets calling all the officials to mobilize heavy equipment to cut and remove the sand bank at the outlets which helped the flood to subside to a certain extent.
When the heavy rain started upstream of Kelani River a few days back, urgent action should have been taken to remove the sand banks off Mattakkuliya river outfall.
When the weather gets more and more hostile, deployment of heavy machinery is not possible. There is a new dredger owned by the Ceylon Fishery Harbour Corporation, but no one even thought of using it to cut the sand bank.
As this flooding phenomenon will be repeating quite often due the changing direction of waves owing to the new breakwater, it is necessary to carry out Hydraulic Model by Lanka Hydraulic Institute (LHI) and suggest remedial action.
Until this is carried out by making a scaled model, Government should buy a long arm trailing suction dredger which will have suction arms installed in forepeak of the ship to cut the sand bank by suction of sand.
I am sure that LHI does not have Harward-educated wizards, but we know that there are a few in Megapolis and other Development Agencies.
Can they come forward and guide the short-sighted bureaucrats who could have suggested some advanced action to minimize the damage?