Flood victims pray to the rain gods

Displaced and desperate, residents join monks in prayers for an end to the cruel and destructive weather

Heavy rains continue to wreak havoc in the Eastern, North Central and Central districts. Up to yesterday afternoon, flooding and landslides had displaced more than 900,000 persons. Water levels continue to rise and sluice gates of major tanks have been opened, even though the rain has subsided in some areas.

At least 13 people are reported to have died as a result of the rains, and an equal number have been missing since Monday in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Ampara, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya and Vavuniya.

According to the Disaster Management Centre, “the accumulation of rains that began in December is now being felt, and people continue to be displaced, many staying with friends and families.” The full extent of the destruction and damage to homes and farm lands cannot be determined because many areas are inaccessible, the centre added. The government has set up more than 500 welfare centres to accommodate displaced persons.

Major tanks have reached spill level. These include the Kalawewa, the Parakrama Samudraya, and the Minneriya and Kawudulla tanks. Here is an overview of the districts hit by rains and floods:


Low-lying lands in and around Anuradhapura town are heavily flooded. All six sluice gates of the Anuradhapura Wewa are open, and residents were told at short notice to vacate their homes by the District Secretary, M. K. Herath. The wewa bund has been breached at two points.

Up to Friday night, many roads, including roads leading to places of worship, were under water. Pilgrims have been advised to postpone their visits to Anuradhapura. The land surrounding the main marketplace is also under water.

Police, Navy and Air Force teams are helping in the rescue effort. Boats are ferrying stranded persons out of flooded areas, while helicopters are being used to airlift residents stranded in Kahatagasdigiliya and Puliyankadawala.

Meanwhile, members of the laity have joined the monks to pray for an end to the rains. Leading the prayers are the Atamasthanadhipathi and Chief Sanganayake, the Venerable Pallegama Sangawasa Thera, and the Ven. Nugethenne Pagnananda Thera Viharadhipathi of the Sri Buddha Jayanthi Viharaya. North Central Province Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake has also joined in the prayers for a change of weather.


Close on 300,000 people have been affected by the rains in Trincomalee district. A total of 59,198 persons – or 15,669 families – have moved to temporary shelters. According to Additional Government Agent, A. Nadaraja, all 11 District Secretariat divisions have been affected by rains and floods.

Displaced persons at welfare centres receive three cooked meals a day and free dry rations to last a week. Displaced persons living outside the welfare camps receive free dry rations to last a week.
The opening of sluice gates of the Minneriya tank, the Kantalai tank, and the Parakrama Samudra has caused flooding in the surrounding areas.

The effects of the floods are unprecedented. Residents of Trincomalee town and suburbs report that for the first time flood waters have reached their doorsteps and circled their homes. Since Wednesday, rain has been continuous and main roads and cross-roads in the town and suburbs are under water.
A tank breached in the Ariyawankerny area has caused the water level to rise around the town of Muttur.
Serunuwara is among the worst hit areas.

On Friday, at least five persons, including a sailor, were reported missing when a Navy boat carrying villagers rescued from Serunuwara went missing.

At Mollipothana, on the main road between Trincomalee and Colombo, the road was almost four feet under water. Warnings have been issued to persons using vehicles plying the Kantalai tank bund.


The worst affected areas in Polonnaruawa district are Medirigiriya and Lankapura. Water has risen above the 20-foot high bridge, the Kalagedi Palama, that connects Medirigiriya to Polonnaruwa district. Fears that the bridge is at collapsing point have prompted Polonnaruwa District Secretary Nimal Abeysiri to ban the use of heavy vehicles on the bridge.

Anuradhapura’s Ruwanvelisaya inaccessible.

Normal life has been completely disrupted in Medirigiriya, where some 15,000 families are battling with flood waters. Rising water at Manampitiya has reached the Polonnaruwa-Batticaloa rail track. All access roads are under water. Some 25,000 families have been inconvenienced by the rains.

The Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa, was in Medirigiriya to inspect welfare measures in place for flood victims. Livestock and wildlife are among the flood victims. At least 5,000 heads of cattle and other livestock, as well as several elephants, have drowned in the floods.

Seventy per cent of the Neelabamma farming colony in Puttalam is under water, while the opening of sluice gates of the Rajangana tank has caused hundreds of acres of paddy and other cultivated land to go under water on either side of the tank.


Landslides caused by steady rains that started in December have taken lives and destroyed property in Badulla. Houses have collapsed in the village of Badulusirigama village, forcing at least 15 families to move out, while 30 Buddhist monks at the Mawalangala Aramaya were evacuated due to the threat of landslides.

Thousands have lost their homes to landslides in Bandarawela, Haputale, Uvaparanagama, Mahiyangana, Meeghakiula, Welimada, Soranathota, and Passara.


In Mannar district, the villages of Thampanaikulam and Rasamadhu remain under water. At least98 families have had to abandon their homes. Transport is restricted.

Expect more downpours in the coming week

A low-pressure situation and the effect of the monsoon will combine to cause heavy rains in the coming week, especially in the Eastern province.

The Meteorology Department says the winds laden with moisture blowing from the East would cause precipation in in the North, North Central and Uwa provinces, as well as the eastern slopes of the Central Hills. Sabaragamuwa, Central and Western Provinces and Galle and Matara districts will experience thunder showers in the evenings.

The Meteorology Department expects a low-pressure situation to develop towards the end of the week, when rains will decrease. These are the heaviest rains experienced in the district of Batticaloa since January 1913 and December 1967, according to a Meteorology Department official.

Last week’s rains were heaviest in the Batticaloa and Polonnaruwa districts, followed by Trincomalee, Vavuniya, Anuradhapura and Ampara.

Life-saving Dambulla youth to the rescue

By Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa

Dambulla youths trained in life-saving techniques by the Sri Lanka Police Life-Saving Association, are playing a prominent part in rescue operations in flood-hit parts of the country. Under Sergeant Sunil Wijesinghe and Ruwan Bandara of the Dambulla Police, these young men have dedicated themselves to helping out in emergencies. Since the association was set up in 1992, the young life-savers have saved 65 from drowning. The young men say they would be in a better position to help if they had more basic life-saving equipment.

Village inundated

An entire village in Anuradhapura was inundated after one of the large tanks in Galenbindunuwewa was breached. Fifteen houses have been destroyed and 350 houses badly damaged. According to Ven. Getarawe Siddartha, chief incumbent of the Shri Vishuddaramaya, 450 families have sought refuge in his temple. The tank was breached early on Friday.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Other News Articles
Further fuel price increases inevitable
Bush cancels Geneva trip in advance of torture suit
Govt. silent on people’s revolt in Egypt
Mind-your-manners order to residents near cricket stadium
Lanka caught in India’s fishing net
Superb cover drive
Deluge after deluge, devastating horror
Biometric passports on the cards
Scientists from Sri Lanka, India and US to jointly study Indian Ocean weather phenomena
Halt Jaffna crimes, concerned citizens tell President
Army on drive to downsize strength
Joint visa application centre for UK, Australia
Free Fonseka: UNP, JVP plan big protests
Lanka security situ improved: Switzerland
Ranil calls for PSC to probe attack
Former Navy Chief, envoy to Japan
Alarming drop in numbers involved in research
Moneragala beckons with 5th Deyata Kirula
Lankaenews dismisses claims of contract attack
Flood victims pray to the rain gods
Hijacked crew ‘set adrift’, destitute and starved
Pomp, pageantry and call to alms by way of sacrifice
Where young girls see marriage as escape from poverty
Price rises amid veges lying-a-rotting


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 1996 - 2011 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved | Site best viewed in IE ver 8.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution