Buildings Research Organisation issues warning
Continuous rain, earthslips may trigger
By Marisa de Silva
With the North East monsoon nearly upon us, heavy rains have already
triggered minor landslides in the western slope of the country during
the past two weeks. The situation is bound to progressively worsen
if similar weather conditions persist, warns the National Buildings
Research Organisation (NBRO).
The worst landslide was reported from Kahawatte this week and authorities
say it was triggered by a cutting failure (when a high bank/bund
behind a house breaks down and gets washed downhill). This landslide
made the Poranuwa road (a road in the area) impassable and prompted
the authorities to evacuate eleven families in the vicinity, said
R.M.S. Bandara, head of Landslide Studies and Services Division
of the NBRO.
said it was still not safe to undertake any task to clear the area
because minor earthslips were taking place due to the continuous
Mr. Bandara said they advised four families in this area to leave
during the rains last year but only two families had done so.
two families that remained were among the 11 families that were
evacuated last week, he said. According to NBRO data, about 8-10
significant cutting failures have been reported to the NBRO during
the past two weeks from the Pelmadulla, Nivithigala, Kahawatte,
Matale, Ginigathhena, Kalutara and Ratnapura areas.
have been no major landslides so far, as the rains mostly comprised
scattered showers and not day-long torrential downpours. There have
been no casualties or great damage done to property thus far. Only
some roads have been blocked or deemed unsafe.
if these weather patterns were to change and heavy rainfall does
occur especially in landslide prone areas such as the Kandy, Kegalle,
Ratnapura, Kalutara, Matara, Galle, Hambantota and Nuwara Eliya
Districts, bigger landslides are likely to occur in these areas,”
Mr. Bandara said.
Asked about the NBRO’s disaster preparedness measures, Mr.
Bandara said it was not feasible to evacuate all the people as the
NBRO could not predict when a landslide might occur.
we’ve cautioned villagers in vulnerable areas to look out
for tell-tale signs of impending landslides, like tension cracks
widening on their house walls or floors and mud springs appearing
near their homes. People who have a high bank or bund bordering
their houses should also be wary. Furthermore, the NBRO also issues
warnings via the media. Divisional Secretariats can also take emergency
measures such as evacuating villagers and inform us thereafter,”
Mr. Bandara said.