people in landslide areas
By Faraza Farook
If the residents living in areas prone to landslides were made aware
of the signs of an impending landslide, then the lives of the hundreds
buried under mounds of sand during the recent floods could have
been saved, Prof. Kapila Dahanayake of the University of Peradeniya
living in terrain that are prone to landslides can in most cases
avoid the ill effects if there is an awareness about the causes,
signs and dangers of impending landslides," Prof. Dahanayake
said last week.
He said that,
construction of houses on unstable rock foundations or on locations
of previous landslides should be discouraged. Prof. Dahanayake said
that during his recent visit to the flood affected areas, he was
told of instances where people had noticed certain signs such as
cracks on walls and slanting trees, but being unaware of the consequences
that might result had not taken any precautions.
He said that
if the people in such areas were made aware of the danger signs,
they could have been evacuated prior to the disaster thus to a great
extent minimising if not avoiding the loss to life and property.
devastation caused by the recent floods, steps are now being taken
to instruct the people and raise their awareness levels- through
programmes held at schools and religious places of worship- on how
to preempt landslides by being aware of its causes and on how to
look out for danger signs that signal landslides so that they could
take necessary precautions thereby avoiding the dangers to life,
limb and property.
Some of the
reasons for the recent landslides as pointed out by Prof. Dhanayake
was the construction of highways without taking into account sites
of previous landslides that could be liable to damage due to continuous
rainfall as it often happens in the Kandy District.
He said that
in the last three decades landslides have occurred with increasing
frequency in the Central Highlands. He attributed this to the rapid
increase in population and the resulting construction of houses
on slope and on unstable land.
don said that in Sri Lanka one of the main causes of landslides
is the heavy rainfall which at times is recorded to be in the region
of 75 mm and above and could trigger a landslide in certain geologically
weak sloping lands of the Central Highlands. Another reason is due
to unplanned construction of highways and also due to the rapid
rate fo deforestation which leaves vast tracks of land prey to soil
Met Department said that flooding in these areas was due to the
large amount of rainfall causing the overflowing of the many rivers
and streams that cross and criss cross these areas.
of the rainfall and man-made factors were factors for, G.B. Samarasinghe
of the Met Department said. He said that the department was seriously
handicapped due to the breakdown in the telephone communication
link with the weather station in Ratnapura that could have provided
the much need observation on weather conditions every three hours.
lasted for two days from May 17 to 19. However, the observatory
was able to pass on all information around 4 p.m. on May 18 through
a mobile phone borrowed from a visitor. Until such time there had
been no communication on the weather situation from the affected
The Global Telecommunication
System that transmits meteorological data had also failed from time
to time during May 14 and May 20 which was another obstacle to the
Met department's weather observation, he said.
The recent calamity
had once aging underlined the urgent need for disaster preparedness
if Sri Lanka is to prevent or minimise such a catastrophe in the
by father, probe ordered by Ministry
of Education has ordered an investigation into the suicide of a
parent over the alleged refusal by the Kolonnawa Balika Vidyalaya
to admit his daughter to the commerce stream.
37 years old set himself ablaze in front of the school in protest
of the institution's refusal to admit his daughter in the commerce
stream. While his daughter 16 year old Nadeeka Sevvandi claimed
she had the required aggregate for entry and had passed her ordinary
level with a credit pass in Mathematics, residents in the area state
that earlier her family had said she failed in mathematics.
was admitted to the Arts stream of the Kolonnawa Balika Vidyalaya,
she was very keen to study commerce. This led her parents to request
the school authorities to admit her to the commerce class.
of Education Mr. V.K. Nanayakkara told The Sunday Times that the
Director of National Schools had been asked to conduct an investigation
into the incident.
He said he was
unable to comment on the issue in the absence of sufficient information.
However the aggregate required for entry into the commerce stream
could differ from school to school, Mr. Nanayakkara said.
true that this child doesn't have the required marks in mathematics
as reported in newspapers, then she cannot be admitted to the commerce
stream. “If we make an exception and admit her, then we would
be setting a precedent," he said.
Piyal had soaked himself in kerosene and set fire to his body last
Friday after a final plea to the school principal had also apparently
The School's Principal Mrs.Yasanthi Herath refused to comment on
Council support Desmond for UN post
Council of Sri Lanka last week decided to support the nomination
of Desmond Fernando, P.C. as the United National Special Rapporteur.
At a meeting held on May 31 the Bar Council ratified the decision
of the Executive Committee of the Bar Association to support Mr.
Fernando's nomination as UN's Special Rapporteur.
agreed on supporting Mr. Fernando in view of services rendered to
the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, the Legal Aid Committee and the
Human Rights Committee of the Bar Association.
was Secretary of the Bar Association from 1975 to 1977, Vice President
in 1998 and President from 1989 to 1991.