play havoc with people and property
By Nalaka Nonis.
Despite floods having receded and normalcy being gradually being
restored in flood affected areas, authorities had not still been
able to assess the overall damage to infrastructure facilities and
other properties caused by the recent floods and landslides in the
water lines, bridges, schools, telecommunication lines and tea factories
had been severely damaged by the floods and landslides while the
losses may be in the region of billions of rupees.
District Secretariats of Ratnapura, Matara and Galle districts which
were badly affected by the floods and landslides told The Sunday
Times that they were still receiving reports with regard to damages
and it may take a couple of weeks more to finalize the assessment
of overall damages to infrastructure facilities and other properties.
regard to certain categories of damages, the District Secretariats
have received estimates. The Ratnapura District Secretariat estimates
the damages caused to roads to be some 231 million rupees. Of this
about 133 million rupees had been due to damages to rural roads
under the control of the Pradeshiya Sabha, while the damages to
roads under the control of the Provincial Councils and Municipal
Councils total 83 and 15 million rupees respectively.
school buildings in Ratnapura district had been estimated at 21
million rupees while the damages to school equipment at seven million
rupees. One of the sectors that was badly affected by the floods
and landslides in the Ratnapura district had been the irrigation.
The loss due to damages to the minor irrigation works is estimated
at 2.5 million rupees while the estimated damage to the rural water
supply is 3.6 million rupees. 6.9 million rupees worth of damages
had been caused to the major water supply.
The value of
the damages to telecommunication, electricity and agriculture had
not been finalized, though it too may be more than a few millions
of rupees. Especially at Kalawana in Ratnapura most mini hydro schemes
and rural electrification schemes had been damaged.
In the Matara
district the damage to roads maintained by the Pradeshiya Sabha
had been estimated at 1984 million rupees and the damage to roads
belonging to the Provincial Council is 174 million rupees.
posts in the Matara district had been completely damaged while electricity
posts and water lines have been seriously affected. Especially in
Urubokka a large number of electricity posts had fallen down due
to landslides. Further all the documents at the Athuraliya Divisional
Secretariat of Matara district were completely destroyed by the
In the Galle
district it was the telecommunication lines and bridges that were
worst affected by floods. The number of telecommunication lines
that were damaged are 2104. Twelve concrete bridges, 14 suspension
bridges and five wooden bridges were also damaged.
power stations sustained heavy damages while five tea factories
had been seriously affected. According to the National Gem and Jewellery
Authority, the overall damage caused by the recent floods to the
gem industry in Sabaragamuwa Province is estimated at Rs. 33.6 million.
57,000 miners have been affected due to floods and have temporally
lost their jobs.
had taken steps to build 100 houses for the affected miners through
funds collected from gem merchants, dealers and exporters. Meanwhile
the insurance companies in the flood-hit areas have been kept busy
by the people who were affected by the floods and landslides. An
official for the National Insurance Corporation in Matara told The
Sunday Times that there was a marked increase in claims received
soon after the floods
An outbreak of conjunctivitis is being reported from several parts
of the country including those areas devastated by last week's floods,
the Health Ministry said.
Health Services Deputy Director Dr. Terrence de Silva said the ministry
has received reports of an increasing number of people afflicted
by conjunctivitis from various parts of the country, while in the
flood-hit areas, sporadic cases of diarrhoea was also reported.
and other preventive measures carried out in the Sabaragamuwa, Southern
and Western provinces to control the outbreak of communicable diseases
had proven effective in evading epidemics or any serious outbreak.
Provincial Director of Health Services Dr. J.B. Senarath said that
however in Matara where the water levels receded much later a total
of 81 diarrheoa cases had been reported since May 20. Cases of conjunctivitis
was also high with 68 reported during the same period, while eight
cases of dysentery and four cases of chickenpox had been brought
to the notice of health authorities.
was spreading in the Galle district as well. Though 15-20 cases
of diarrhoea had been reported in Ratnapura health officials said
the situation was under control. In Kalutara, more than 60 mobile
camps have been operating and this helps to contain the outbreak
of disease at a low level. Dr. D. Ranatunga, Medical Officer in
charge of maternal and child health said no communicable diseases
have been reported at the moment.
said the provincial health authorities have appointed an eight-member
team comprising two Food and Drugs Inspectors and five PHIs to investigate
food products that may be contaminated due to the recent floods.
Dr. Ranatunga said that random checks were being carried out to
ensure that food unsuitable for human consumption is not sold at
Chief Minister's funeral tomorrow
Funeral of the late Central Province Chief Minister W. M. P. B.
Dissanayake will take place tomorrow at the Gampola Wickramabahu
Central College. Mr. Dissanayake who became the Central Province
Chief Minister in 2002 was 78 years old at the time of his death.
His body will
be taken to the Central Provincial Council in Pallekele at 9.00
am tomorrow and will lie in state till 12.30 pm to allow people
to pay their last respects.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe paid his last respects on Friday.
wedding party that ended in pieces
By Chris Kamalendran
The wedding reception of a young businessman, dealing in motor spares,
turned into a nightmare due to the alleged unruly behaviour of a
UNP parliamentarian from the south who had allegedly assaulted the
hotel staff and caused damage to hotel property.
the bridegroom told The Sunday Times that the incident was a 'great
embarrassment' to the newly married couple, relatives and guests,
and that he was still apologising to those who were present for
being inconvenienced. He said he reimbursed the hotel for the damages
before leaving on his honeymoon.
MP, Dilip Wedaarachchi who was allegedly responsible for causing
the disturbance was among the 200 invitees for the wedding reception
held at hotel Hilton last Sunday.
was proceeding smoothly with the band Sakura in attendance. It was
near the witching hour of midnight when the band made an announcement
to the effect that they would be ending the music in a short while
as agreed with the hotel and the host. The MP is then reported to
have walked up to the musical group and demanded that they continue
playing more songs, but the group refused to do do', Mr. Seneviratne
the group wound up and started packing up their instruments. It
was almost midnight. At this point the MP assaulted a person standing
closer to the stage. He happened to be one of our employees who
had also been invited for the wedding. We managed to rescue the
employee and send him out of the hall', he said.
'It was then that the MP started breaking up plates and other glassware
belonging to the hotel. The Chief steward made an attempt to intervene,
but was himself assaulted by the MP', Mr. Seneviratne said.
By this time
the MP was joined by some of his colleagues and most of the remaining
guests started hurriedly leaving the place. The bridegroom and the
bride were taken to safety.
Seneviratne was bitten on his hand, by a person who was with the
parliamentarian. Even four days after the incident he still bore
The bridegroom's cousin Dhanushka Seneviratne explained that it
not only caused a disturbance to their wedding but guests at an
adjoining wedding reception too were also disturbed and some of
them also started leaving.
'By this time
the MP was attempting to smash a large glass door. We saw the hotel
staff intervening to prevent it', he added. However by this time
the MP too had been assaulted and he made a hurried escape towards
the entrance. The Fort police had arrived and managed to bring the
situation under control.
'At the hotel
entrance the parliamentarian pulled out a weapon from his waist
and opened fire into the air before being taken away together with
his wife', Dhanushka an eyewitness to the incident said. The incident
was one of the most embarrassing incidents. The bridegroom had to
make a statement to the police who visited him at his room and pay
some Rs. 32,000 as damages caused to the cutlery.
said that at the time the hotel reservation was being made the management
had informed them that unruly behaviour should be avoided.
'We even carefully selected the guests to ensure there won't be
any problems. We restricted the number of guests especially for
this reason, but what happened was utterly unexpected', the bridegroom
leader Ajith Vithanage told The Sunday Times that his group was
interrupted by the MP and his supporters who stormed the stage,
plucked their mikes and started hooting. 'It was then the trouble
started. We noticed one of the invitees being assaulted', he said.
for the Hotel told The Sunday Times that they were forced to call
in the police due to the incident and during the the brawl the cutlery
had been damaged.
Police investigating the incident have recorded the statement of
Mr. Wedaarachchi on Thursday.
This is what
the parliamentarian had to say: Hambantota district UNP MP, Dilip
Wedararchchi says that the wedding party was that of his niece and
he was one of those invited for the occasion.
the party with my family. Towards the end of the party the musical
group stopped playing music. The youngsters who were among those
invited wanted the music to be continue. A heated argument broke
out between these youngsters and the musical group. At this stage
the hotel stewards intervened and tried to resolve the dispute.
At this point some of the hotel staff entered into an argument with
these youngsters and this led to a quarrel', Mr. Wedararchchi said.
denied that he was involved in damaging the hotel property. My security
officers who were waiting outside the door rushed in to take me
and my family members away.
who feared that I would be attacked had opened fire into the air
outside the entrance. The MP in his statement to the Fort police
has denied that he opened fire into the air, but only that his security
had done so.