Written by Lahiru Fernando
24 May, 2016 | 8:16 am
The water level of the flooded Kelani river is declining gradually while the stagnant flood waters in some areas are receding slowly.
“If flood waters stagnate, steps will be taken to pump out the excess water”, says the Department of Irrigation.
On May 17, the Nagalam Street Water level gauge read 7.8 feet. However, on May 23, the water level had reduced to 4.2 feet by 2 p.m.
While the 4.2 feet level is normal for the Kelani river, stagnant floodwaters are continuing to cause problems in areas including Kolonnawa, Wellampitiya and Salamulla.
The Disaster Management Centre says that 123,727 people displaced by floods in the Colombo District are being sheltered at 65 camps. While flood waters have receded in some parts of Kolonnawa and Mulleriyawa, the people residing in these areas have no hope for the future.
According to the News 1st reporter, security forces have been deployed to protect property in flooded areas.
The heavy rains which began on May 17 did more damage than just floods as they triggered a major landslide on the Samasara Kanda in Aranayake, leaving a trail of devastation across three villages. The bodies of 25 people who were killed in Saamasara Kanda landslide had been recovered as of today.
Army personnel engaged in the search operation have recovered 25 bodies and 18 body parts so far. 135 people remain unaccounted for. Teams including the Sri Lanka Army are continuing with the search operation.
More than 1,000 people who lost their families, neighbours and homes in this catastrophe, are still being sheltered at the Rajagiri Maha Vidyalaya, the Viyaneliya Viharaya and the Podape Viharaya in Aranayake.
According to the News 1st reporters, the people here depended on plantations for their livelihood. Their only hope now is that some semblance of normalcy can be restored. People who were displaced by the Ambalakanda landslide on Saturday, May 21, are being sheltered at the Ambalakanda Maha Vidyalaya.
People displaced by the landslide at the Kalupahana Estate in Bulathkohupitiya are being sheltered at the Seelananda Maha Vidyalaya. 150 people from 60 families have been evacuated to Ekneligoda Vidyalaya after a landslide risk arose on the Mukalana Kanda in Wenwala, Ekneligoda in Kuruwita.
The State Minister of Lands noted yesterday that lands will be provided to people who lost their homes to landslides. However, people who lost their homes to landslides in the recent past still remain homeless.
People who were promised new land when they lost their homes in the Nicolohewatta landslide in Rattota, Matale, three years ago, are still waiting for these lands to materialise.
With no viable options, some people have returned to the area, disregarding the landslide risk.
Foundation stones were laid on several occasions for projects to provide housing for people who lost their homes in the devastating Meeriyabedda landslide on October 29, 2014. However, the survivors continue to reside at a camp for the displaced in Punagala.
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