Trail of destruction as rains lash islandwide

More than 100,000 displaced; houses and crops damaged
By Mirudhula Thambiah

With the skies opening up throughout the country over the past three weeks causing damage to roads, houses and agricultural crops, and displaced more than 100,000 people as the Meteorology Department on Friday predicted more rains for the coming week.

Unexpected high rainfall has forced people to remain in temporary camps for the past two to three weeks after being displaced from their homes. The heavy rains experienced was virtually islandwide, with Mannar, Jaffna, Killinochchi, Mullaitivu, Gampaha, Colombo, Kalutara, Trincomalee and Hambantota among the districts affected.

The stormy weather conditions in Colombo was no dampener for this determined couple at Galle Face

Efforts by the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) to drain flood waters using pumps, proved futile in certain locations. The Mannar district was one of the worst affected areas in the Northern Province, with 9,693 families involving 40,070 people affected due to flooding this week.

Musali in the Mannar District, has the highest number of affected families of 2,460, and 101 partly damaged houses. “The displaced families were initially housed in community centers, schools and religious organizations and are now living with their relatives and friends,” said DMC official M. Riyaz.
“Crops in the Mannar district were badly damaged”, he said.

He said that 18 small reservoirs were overflowing due to the heavy rains. Two tanks in Nanakaan, four in Musali and 12 in western Manthai. Nesanvelikulam, Thesavadikulam and Malihaiththidal kulam are some of the main ones that breached their bunds, while some of them were damaged as well, necessitating repairs.

According to the DMC, 8,365 families or 30,452 persons were affected in the Jaffna district. The most affected area in Jaffna was Sandillippai, with 11,120 people affected. Two persons were injured, 176 houses were totally damaged and 2,246 partly damaged. There are 31 IDP camps ‘housing’ 5,760 people.

The Killinochchi district has 5,628 families or 21,564 persons affected by the floods. The most affected area being Kandawalai with 10,789 people or 2,612 families. There are 41 totally damaged houses and 1,627 are partially damaged. There are 20 IDP camps with 3,745 persons in them.

“Cultivation in the Killinochchi area is badly affected due to the stagnant floodwater from the overflowing Iranamadu Tank” officials in the area said. Mullaittivu has 3,588 persons or 1,120 families affected. Oddusuddan has 2,506 people or 772 families affected, and is the most affected area in the Mullaitivu district.

Government Agent- Mullaitivu district, N. Vethanayagam said that temporary transitional shelters, floor sheets and cooked meals were being provided by the Provincial DMC. “Since the floors of the houses were badly damaged, some of the INGOs provided floor sheet facilities as well” he said.

According to the DMC, Gamapaha is one of the worst affected districts in the Western Province. 14,123 people or 3,164 families were affected in the Wattala division of the Gampaha district. District Coordinator- DMC, Gampaha district, Ajith Chandrasiri said that, roads in the Wattala area were blocked and damaged by the heavy rains, causing traffic congestion and inconvenience to people. However, now everything is cleared.

“The Athanagalla River and the Kelani River in the Kelaniya division were in spate, but has since subsided,” said the coordinator. In the Trincomalee district in the Eastern Province, the Mutur division was the most affected area due to the heavy rains. 1,387 persons or 444 families were affected by the heavy downpour last Monday, while 90 houses were partly damaged.

Due to the heavy rains last Wednesday, the Puttalam district was the most affected in the North Western Province. The heavy rains in this area affected 13,780 persons or 3, 284 families. The Chilaw division had 5,028 affected people or 1,106 families, with 19 houses totally damaged and 5 partly damaged, and with one IDP camp of 800 people located in the Ambalama Muslim Mosque.

According to the District Coordinator- Puttalam district, Brigadier Manoj Mudannayake, some irrigation systems in the Puttalam district were damaged due to the heavy showers and that, reports of the damaged were being prepared. Hambantota district was the worst affected by floods in the southern province, with 4,866 persons or 1,190 families displaced.

The Tissamaharama D.S division has the highest amount of affected people in the Hambantota District, with 3,846 persons or 866 families affected. “There are 2,170 displaced persons in seven camps,” said District Coordinator- Hambantota DMC, M.G.A Nandana.

He said there are people yet in camps, and are provided with relief facilities by the DMC.Flooding has badly devastated 450 acres of paddy, and there is a threat of epidemic due to flooding in the Hambantota district. Heavy showers not only displaced people, but also filled the reservoirs and overflowed their bunds, ruining agricultural crops too.

However it was reported that damage to the tanks were minor and would be repaired soon. It is also hoped that, with abundance of water, there will be greater cultivation in the foreseeable future.

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