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Government gears up assistance as adverse weather takes heavy toll


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By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent

The bad weather experienced in most parts of the island in the last few days has left 69,583 persons from 17,303 families in distress. According to the latest reports, 12 persons have died while 18 have been injured as a result of the torrential rains and floods.

Listing the action taken by the Government to help those affected, State Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources and Disaster Management Palitha Range Bandara said: “The Government has started paying Rs. 100,000 per death while distributing cooked foods and other essential items, with monies released to District Secretaries. As part of the insurance scheme available, an advance of Rs. 10,000 will also be released per family to repair damaged houses. A damage assessment committee has been appointed to investigate the full damage, with a limit of Rs. 2.5 million per house. Small and medium sized businesses with a turnover of less than Rs. 10 million will receive Rs. 2.5 million for the damaged stock and Rs. 100,000 for machines. These are the ceilings set for compensation. Several reservoirs are under construction in key reviver basins to retain water and to make use of the water in agriculture.”

Looking at long-term measures to control the floods and capitalise on changing weather conditions, the Government has started to build reservoirs and dams in key river valleys. The water collected from each of these irrigation projects will be channelled to dry areas of the country for agriculture and other use.

“Thalpitigala reservoir in Badulla District and Sengalaoya project is underway to build a dam across Danduru Oya, Anadara Wewa project and Mankulam projects are started. A key study was made on the Kelani River and discussions were held with the Japanese Government parties involved in conducting the project. We are making use of the expert knowledge and recommendations received from both local and foreign experts. The third largest reservoir project in the country will be established in Thanthirimale involving the Malwathu Oya,” said the Minister, who cautioned the nation to be ready for an average temperature increase of two degrees by 2020 and drought, high winds and scarcity of water by 2050 as a result of changing weather patterns.


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