Thousands affected as extreme weather batters SL; Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Kandy, Kegalle, Matale, Galle among areas affected (Watch Report)

Thousands affected as extreme weather batters SL; Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Kandy, Kegalle, Matale, Galle among areas affected (Watch Report)

Written by Staff Writer

25 Dec, 2014 | 11:29 pm

The National Building Research Organisation or NBRO has issued landslide warnings for ten districts in the country. Director of the Landslides Unit at the NBRO, R.M.S. Bandara stated that residents of these areas should exercise extreme caution. High risk districts include Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Kandy, Kegalle, Matale, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Ratnapura and Kalutara.

Please watch report.

Extreme weather conditions have brought day-to-day life to a standstill in many areas. Flooding has been reported from a number of areas, while landslides  were also reported from the hill country. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced while one life was lost to the extreme weather on Thursday. People in Naula were among the worst affected, following the opening of the spill gates of the Bowathenna Reservoir. Several villages were inundated when the Amban River broke its banks following the release of excess water from the Bowathenna Reservoir. Although our reporters attempted to reach the affected area, they were inaccessible through this route. Nevertheless, our relentless reporters succeeded in finding their way to the affected areas via Elahera, Kabarawa and Bowathenna.

Heavy downpours are persisting in catchment areas where 57 reservoirs under the purview of the Irrigation Department are overflowing. Irrigation Department Water Management Director, Janaki Meegasthenna says the water levels of several other reservoirs are rising rapidly. This has affected several districts including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Matale, Batticaloa and Hambantota. All eight spill-gates of the Victoria Reservoir have been opened as the heavy showers continue.

Meanwhile, two spill-gates of the Upper Kotmale Reservoir too have been opened, all twelve spill-gates of the Kawudulla Reservoir have been opened by four and a half feet each. Our reporter stated that the engineer in charge of the reservoir also inspected an anomaly on the bund of the reservoir and took steps to fortify the bund with sandbags.

Furthermore, the Batticaloa – Polonnaruwa road remains inundated in Gallella. Our reporter noted that the only mode of transport available between Manampitiya and Polonnaruwa is the railway. The Batadola area in Kaduruwela remains inundated while paddy fields in Divulana too have been inundated.

The Ella-Anuradhapura road was inundated in Padeniya when the Deduru Oya broke its banks. Transportation was brought to a complete standstill.

The rising water level of the Deduru Oya also inundated Mikekulama in Marawila Chilaw, with about three feet of water. A 17-year-old boy who was curious to see the flooding had unfortunately drowned in a nearby tank.

Transportation was brought to a standstill in Siththaru on the Kanthale-Seruwila raod, as a result of a bridge in the area being washed away. Our reporter stated that the spill gates of the Pavakkulama Reservoir in Vavuniya, remain open by two feet each.

Meanwhile, major flooding was also witnessed at the sacred grounds in Anuradhapura. People who were displaced when the Kuttampokuna and Galpalama areas in Anuradhapura were inundated, have sought shelter in a tent that has been erected on an adjacent road. All sixteen spill-gates of the Rajanganaya Reservoir have been opened by 8 feet each. The District Irrigation Engineer stated that the two spill-gates of the Angamuwa Reservoir have been opened by four feet each. The Nuwara Wewa too is overflowing while the main sluice has also been opened to release water.

Over 80,000 people have been displaced as a result of the extreme weather while 647,000 have been affected. The Disaster Management Centre reported one death caused by the extreme weather conditions.

Please watch report

An earth embankment collapsed on a house in Muruthawala, Peradeniya killing Sunil Shantha, a father of one. The victim had been visiting relatives when the incident occurred. Two small children who were injured in the incident are being treated at the Peradeniya Hospital. The Piyathilaka-pura junction in Adhikarigama, Jaguranketha, too was blocked following the collapse of an earth embankment and an earth embankment which collapsed on the Rikillagaskada-Kandy road, was removed on Thursday morning.

Three houses were damaged in Diyathilakapura, Haguranketha when earth embankments collapsed on them. Seven families at risk in the area, have been evacuated. An earth embankment also crashed onto a house in Dangolla, Kandy. The wall of the Mahaiyyawa Public Cemetery in Kandy too was broken.

Meanwhile, a 30-foot deep cave in on the Pilimathalawa-Davulgala road in Pamunuwa, restricted traffic flow to a single lane while an earth embankment collapsed onto the Badulla-Bibila A5 highway in Keenagoda, Lunugala and also on the Nuwara Eliya-Badulla road, near the Haggala Botanical Gardens, but the debris was cleared away and traffic flow has been restored.

Meanwhile, several trees had fallen on the Nuwara Eliya -Hatton road near St. Claire, but our reporter says that traffic flow had been restored on this road too by this afternoon.

In Badulla, a train was derailed between Bandarawela and Diyathalawa following a rockslide on Thursday. The Railway Control Room said that services on the upcountry line are terminating at Nanu Oya as a result.

Furthermore, a bus carrying a group of soldiers skidded off the Badulla – Colombo main road on the Surathila Ella bridge on Thursday morning. Seven people were arrested in the incident.

A three-wheeler too met with an accident in the area after skidding off the road. Four people who sustained injuries in the incident, have been admitted to the Pambahinna Hospital.

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