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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2679

Sri Lanka : Rupees 5 million to expedite relief programs for victims of landslides and flood

By Vandana Jayasinghe – Reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 16 January, (Asiantribune.com): In the aftermath of the worst landslides to hit the hill country in the recent 15 years and the floods in the South, the government has taken immediate steps to release over Rs. 5 million to expedite the relief programs in the affected districts.

A total of 76,224 people belong to 15,596 families have been affected by floods and landslides in Nuwara Eliya, Hambantota, Ampara and Monaragala districts. Of the total allocation, Rs. 2 million has been released to Nuwara Eliya district where a total of 2,817 families affected, 16 people died and five missing due to landslides.

According to Disaster Management Centre (DMC), over 30 camps have been opened to house the victims of floods and landslides in affected districts. Walapone alone, 26 camps have been set up and small camps to provide shelter for 10 to 15 families have also been set up.

The relief activities have been delayed due to blocked, impassable roads and lack of heavy machinery to clear the roads to reach the affected areas.

Meanwhile, the DMC warns of more landslides in Nildandahenna, Hanguranketha, Padiyapalalla, Mandaramnuwara, Rikillagaskada, Kirimetiya and Hewaheta areas in the hill country. With the assistance of the Sri Lanka Air Force, 128 people were airlifted to Kandy.

According to DMC, the relief efforts were found difficult due to heavy mist in these areas affected by landslides.

Drinking water has become a major essential item in these areas and the government has sent lorry load of essential items including drinking water bottles, milk powder, biscuits and sugar.

While, the threat of landslides is still looming in some parts of the up country, the floods in the south, according to DMC, especially in the Hambantota and Amapara districts are receding.

Meanwhile, warning on more landslides in hilly slopes in up country, Prof. Kapila Dahanayake of the Geological Department, University of Peradeniya claimed that poor public awareness on warnings on landslides caused more deaths.

According to Prof. Dahanayake, there were signs of landslides occurrences during the past few weeks triggered with heavy rains, which was the highest recorded in many years but the public were not properly educated and also not provided with alternative lands to move before the disaster.

He also claimed that there was a dearth of qualified geologists to work and identify the dangers before such disasters.

- Asian Tribune -

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