Bamba coast erosion sends shock waves

By Mirudhula Thambiah

A sudden sea erosion that occurred in the Bambalapitiya- Wellawatte area has many poor fishing families and business establishments worried about further erosion, while the Coast Conservation Department has supplied sand bags as a temporary protective measure.

Olwyn Weerasekera

Jayantha Abeysinghe , who lives close to the Bambalapitiya railway bridge said, “I live with my wife and child in a small hut and this was damaged due to sea erosion. We are afraid to stay here in case further erosion takes place. I also have no place to beach my fishing boat.”

Describing the incident, he said they were taken by surprise when the erosion occurred, as this area has been free of erosion and were unprepared to stop the sea water from coming inland. Later with the help of a neighbouring beach club they had managed to place some sand bags.

Mr. Abeysinghe said he was already facing hard times as he did not get enough catch on somedays and this incident would add further burden on him as a breadwinner.

Calistas De Almeida, President of the Kinross Swimming and Life Saving Club said about 4000 sand bags were needed to block the erosion. He said the back premises of his club was partly damaged and he had placed sand bags.

“At the moment we have placed sand bags to control the damage. However the Coast Conservation Department has said they will fill the eroding areas with rocks, to control further erosion,” he said.

He said before the erosion occurred there was about 15 metres between the sea and the coast but with the erosion more coast has been washed away bringing hardships especially to the fishermen who have lost their beach area to keep their boats.

Some fishermen living in these areas said when the incident occurred it was Mr. Almeida who came to their rescue by providing sand bags. When the Sunday Times visited the area we saw the extent of the damage as many fisher families wooden huts had been damaged and about three coconut trees were half submerged in water. Even the sand bags didn’t seem to help with the waves crashing over the bags.

Olwyn Weerasekera, chairman of the popular restaurant Beach Wadiya said the erosion had been taking place for the past two weeks. He warned it could get worse when the monsoon rains come in April and May.

The beach front of the popular Beach Wadiya

Although he said his premises had not been badly affected yet, he added his business may see a drop as customers may not come to the wadiya on hearing about the erosion. He said his restaurant was a landmark in the area, with it being a popular joint among local and foreign VIPs.

He said that his restaurant was badly hit by the 2004 tsunami and he fears that this erosion that could increase in the future and could eventually hit his establishment. He said at present the police and the Coast Conservation Department had supplied sand bags to control the erosion.

Meanwhile Coast Conservation Department director, Anil Premarathne told the Sunday Times that they were looking into the reasons for the sudden erosion.

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