Japanese expert team’s report on Meethotamulla by Tuesday

Saturday, 22 April 2017 00:18 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Untitled-4A Japanese official with a disaster relief team surveys the site of a garbage dump collapse that killed 32 people on the northeastern edge of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo on 21 April, 2017. A Japanese disaster relief team is advising the Sri Lankan Government on measures to deal with the huge rubbish dump and relocate hundreds of families in the neighbourhood following the disaster - AFP


A team of Japanese experts who flew in this week to advise the Government on how to deal with the aftermath of Meethotamulla tragedy yesterday surveyed the site.

“We hope to be able to give a report by Tuesday,” Mitsutake Numahata, a Japanese official heading the delegation was quoted as saying by AFP.

“We are looking at what to do with the dump itself and the threat to neighbouring areas.”

The Government on Thursday outlawed protests over Colombo’s garbage crisis following rallies over the city’s waste disposal after a landslide at a giant rubbish tip killed 32 people and destroyed 145 homes.

President Maithripala Sirisena announced that anyone preventing city authorities from disposing of garbage could be prosecuted and face an indefinite period in jail, his office said Friday.

“Any person who by word or deed causes a disruption of garbage disposal will be guilty of an offence,” the presidential order stated.

Armed with new powers, garbage collectors Friday began clearing the trash that has been piling up on Colombo’s streets for a week since the city’s main tip -- a 300-foot (90-metre) rubbish mountain -- collapsed on homes.

Authorities were forced to dispose of garbage at alternative locations but that had triggered angry protests by residents who blocked trucks from dumping rubbish.

Sri Lanka has ended a grim search for survivors after the landslide, and was now clearing the site at Kolonnawa.

Local authorities have already declared areas around the vast tip unsafe for housing.Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe promised survivors that permanent housing would be provided within a couple of months, and pledged to shift the dump elsewhere.

Parliament had earlier been warned that the towering mountain of trash posed a serious health hazard and that a long-term solution was needed to dispose of Colombo’s waste.

A night of heavy rain, followed by an outbreak of fire, destabilised the 23 million-tonne garbage heap at Kolonnawa, causing its collapse.