Written by Staff Writer
24 Sep, 2019 | 8:51 pm
Colombo (News 1st) – The Department of Meteorology predicts persistent heavy rainfall over the next 36 hours in several parts of the country. In its latest forecast, the department has noted that rainfall above 200mm could be experienced in certain locations of the Western, Southern and Sabaragamuwa provinces.
Heavy rainfall throughout the day has left many commuters and motorists stranded in Colombo. The water level of the Diyawanna Oya which serves as a moat surrounding parliament has risen significantly.
According to the Meteorology Department, Colombo has experienced rainfall of 67.5 mm today (September 24). Intermittent heavy showers have been reported from Colombo and its suburbs.
Traffic was brought to a near standstill on Armour Street, Barber Street, Bloemendhal Road, and St. James Street in Kotahena, Reclamation Road in Fort, the Jinthupitiya Junction and near the Kirulapona police station due to inundated roads. Severe traffic congestion was reported on most major thoroughfares in the city. The water levels of many of the canals streaming through the city had also risen significantly, with water overflowing into low lying lands in some areas.
It has been reported that several homes have been inundated due to the heavy rains. Furthermore, the wastewater overflowing from drains and canals has raised certain public health concerns. A landslide and a tree that has collapsed onto a house at the Bakery junction, Angoda at about 4:30 am today has reportedly damaged the house along with a three-wheeler and motor-cycle which had been parked at the premises.
Meanwhile, several low lying locations in the Gampaha district have been swamped as of this afternoon. Certain locations in Wattala were submerged due to ongoing construction activities of the Expressway at Kerawalapitiya that had prevented the drainage of rainwater.
Reports indicated that particular locations in Negombo such as Periyamulla and its suburbs have been affected by floods. Additionally, residents of Deniyayawatta and Sellakanda were reportedly distressed due to the flooding. 300 families in Rubberwatte and Gomeswatte in Katana had been evacuated to safer locations. The Negombo-Mirigama road, Mahahunupitiya, and Katunayake-Negombo main road have reportedly submerged by approximately two and a half feet of water. Katunayake has experienced the highest rainfall over the 24 hour period ending at 8:30 this morning. The area was drenched by a torrential downpour of 219mm whereas Vanduramba and Hiyaare in Galle received 175 and 172mm of rainfall respectively.
Reports indicate that 48,560 people from 12,109 families in 5 districts have been affected by extreme weather. The Disaster Management Center states that Galle, Matara, Kalutara, Colombo, and Gampaha districts have been affected. Furthermore, 282 homes have been destroyed leaving one person dead during incidents related to the extreme weather. The Disaster Management Center says 3,488 persons from 878 families have been evacuated.
The Navy carried out a successful rescue operation to save 18 persons who had been stranded by floods. The Navy stated that they have evacuated 417 individuals.
Several parts of Galle and Matara districts were also affected by heavy rainfall, with many roads rendered impassable.
It was reported that 65 homes in Gonapura were swamped while over 1,000 families have been displaced in the Matara district.
Governor of the Southern Province, Hemal Gunasekara has ordered the Chief Secretary to release Rs.1 million in funds for each Divisional Secretariat to bolster relief efforts. Several parts of the Kalutara district have also been inundated with the Benthara river breaking its banks.
A spill gate of the Kukule Ganga reservoir has been opened. The water levels of other rivers in the district have also risen significantly.
Reports indicated that an 8-year-old girl in Uduwana, Imaduwa has sustained serious injuries due to earth falling onto the house last evening (September 23). She is receiving treatments at the ICU of the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital whereas the other three residents were reportedly unharmed.
Three people including another child have been injured due to a landslide in Amugoda, Poddala last evening. A landslide has claimed the life of a 42-year-old woman in Wanduramba, Galle while another who had been injured during the incident was admitted to the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital.
President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the relevant authorities to take immediate steps to assist and aid people who have been affected by extreme weather conditions.
The President chaired a meeting attended by the competent authorities at the Presidential Secretariat this morning. President Sirisena has instructed authorities to obtain the assistance of the tri-forces for the relief efforts and to evacuate people from areas susceptible to landslides. The President has instructed the authorities to not to be concerned about the financial provisions to provide relief to the public.
The weather forecast and disaster warnings that have been issued for the next 24 hours indicates heavy showers or thundershowers for several parts of the island. The Meteorology Department noted that parts of the Western, Southern and Sabaragamuwa provinces could experience rainfall above 200mm.
The Irrigation Department highlighted that people living along the banks of the Nilwala, Kalu and Gin rivers should remain cautious as water levels could rise without warning. The flood level at the Baddegama water gauge in the Gin Ganga is marked at 5 meters and the water level had risen to 4.57 meters as of this evening.
Landslide warnings have been issued for several administrative divisions in 5 districts. Senior Geologist at the NBRO’s Landslide Division, Dr. Gamini Jayatissa states that the warning is in effect for administrative divisions in the Galle, Matara, Kalutara, Ratnapura and Kegalle districts.
Meanwhile, passengers heading to the Bandaranaike International Airport have been informed to arrive at least 3 hours prior to departure.
The BIA’s management stated that this decision was made considering the persisting weather conditions. The Police have established two hotlines to contact the police in the event of natural disasters.
The telephone numbers are 011 25 87 225 and 011 24 54 576.
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