Menaka Shaman

country under alert

relief operations underway 

With Mother Nature summoning her seething apocalyptic fury to asunder, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) issued a warning that all hilly and mountainous areas in the country faced the risk of landslides and urged denizens to be alert to any changes in the environment and act urgently in such instances.

Meanwhile, although unconfirmed, at least 13 deaths were reported from Bulathsinhala at the time of going into print, owing to a landslide.

There were also deaths reported from Ratnapura and Kalutara, although the number was unconfirmed at the time the edition went to press.

Assistant Director of the Preparedness Planning Division of the DMC, N.P. Madawan Arachchi said that by Friday, emergency rescue functions and operations were underway with all common systems activated.

The said rescue efforts involve the military (the Air Force) and the Police being dispatched to areas affected by flood and landslide situations, and these ops are being coordinated by and managed through the joint operations centre, with decisions taken by the emergency operations committee. The said centre is recording grievances from the public and those they receive via the hotline 117.

According to Madawan Arachchi, it was based on the data in the latest and updated technical reports in this regard issued by the Department of Meteorology and the Department of Civil Aviation that the DMC decided to issue warnings to evacuate specific areas vulnerable to floods and landslides such as those in Colombo, Galle and Matara.
Elsewhere, the areas surrounding the Kalu Ganga, low lands in Ratnapura, Elapatha, Pelamadulla, Kuruwita, Kiriella, Ayagama, Ingiriya, Bulathsinhala, Palinda Nuwara, Padukka, Dodangoda and Kalutara, are faced with floods.

There has also been an increase in the water levels of the Kelani Ganga. The Gin ganga has overflowed. Rescue operations are being conducted in Kalutara, Ratnapura, Morawaka and Bulathsinhala owing to landslides.

Due to the rainclouds circulating in the Bay of Bengal, thundershowers are expected in the North East area and also in Kankesanthurai, Trincomalee and Batticaloa, and elsewhere thanks to the South West monsoon, over 150 milimetres of rain is expected in Ratnapura, Kegalle, Galle, Matara and Colombo.

The National Building Research Organization has informed that the following areas face the risk of landslides – the Kegalle District (Bulathkohupitiya, Dehiowita), the Galle District (Baddegama, Yakkalamulla, Neluwa, Thawalama, Nagoda), the Ratnapura District (the Ratnapura Divisional Secretariat, Elapatha, Pelmadulla, Kuruwita, Eheliyagoda, Kiriella, Imbulpe, Aranayaka, Kahawatte, Kalawana, Kolonna, Niwithigala), the Kalutara District (Baduraliya, Agalawatte, Wallallawita, Bulathsinhala), the Matara District (Matara, Kotapola, Pasgoda, Pitabeddara, Mulatiyana, Walasmulla, Katuwana) and the Hambantota District (the Hambantota Divisional Secretariat).

The DMC highlighted that owing to the flood situation prevalent in the country, the death rate could rise as a result of citizens attempting to bathe in unpredictable water bodies and engage in water related play and sports, and therefore requested the public to refrain from doing so.

The DMC has also introduced the following hotlines for information on the disaster situation.

0112136226, 0112136136, 0773957900