Govt. reveals compensation for Meethotamulla victims

Tuesday, 18 April 2017 01:06 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Rs. 100,000 each for the dead; Maximum of Rs. 2.5 m for loss/damage of property
  • Liability falls on National Insurance Trust Fund
  • Govt. to determine additional compensation for victims later 
  • 30 deaths reported 
  • DMC says 11 listed as missing 
  • No garbage dumping in any UDA-owned lands from 1 May 

01-3A mourner attending a mass funeral held for some of the victims of the Meethotamulla disaster holds a picture of a family of three who were trapped under the garbage dump when it collapsed last Friday 

– Pic by Shehan Gunasekara. See more pix on P 2


By Chathuri Dissanayake 

The Government yesterday announced plans to pay families of victims of the Meethotamulla disaster Rs. 100,000 through the National Insurance Trust Fund while property damage is to be compensated with a ceiling of Rs. 2.5 million. In 2016 the NITF was extended to cover property damages and loss of life due to natural disasters as well.

However, the Government will announce an additional compensation scheme for lost lives after the death toll is finalised, a statement issued by the Finance Ministry stated.    

The death toll of the garbage dump collapse has now reached 30 while the number of missing has been determined as 11 after several revisions, Disaster Management Spokesperson Pradeep Kodippili told Daily FT.

According to available statistics, authorities estimate at least 446 families have been affected. However, they are unable to reach conclusive figures as only three complaints have been received, Deputy Inspector General of the Sri Lanka Police Priyantha Jayakody told Daily FT. The search and rescue mission will continue for a fourth day as well. 

Unlike in other similar disasters, where the next of kin or members of the community actively filed reports on the missing, in Meethotamulla only three complaints have been received by the authorities. This has left the aid workers, police and other government officials unable to determine the number of victims, Jayakody explained.  

Last year Sri Lanka faced a double disaster when landslides occurred in the remote Aranayake and Bulathkohupitiya areas. Many from local communities reported people missing, which assisted the impact assessments. At present there are 1,958 people displaced due to the disaster. A total of 79 houses have been completely destroyed while another 10 have been partially damaged. 

Over 1,000 members of the three forces and another 500 members of the police are still engaged in rescue operations, while a seven-member team of experts today visited the site to determine the cause of the disaster. The police will determine the cause of the garbage slide once all the reports by experts have been filed with the magistrate, Jayakody said. 

Meanwhile, the Urban Development Authority yesterday announced that using any land owned by the institution as a landfill to dump garbage will be prohibited from 1 May. However, the authority did not specify the alternate action which will to be taken to address the waste management concerns faced by urban authorities.