The disaster that ensued after the torrential rains
claimed 28 lives while 4,036 people are still
Though two weeks have passed since the floods
wreaked havoc in many parts of the island, 150 600
people are still affected by its aftermath.
According to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC),
most of the affected people are unable to go to
their homes until the drinking water supplies are
restored and houses are cleared of debris.
When The Nation contacted Water Supply and
Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunewardane, he said that
the water supply to all affected areas was restored
to best of his knowledge.
“We have deployed our services to all affected areas
and we also deployed four special teams to severely
affected districts such as Gampaha, Colombo,
Kaluthara and Galle. Other than that there are also
special teams at work to clear out the debris from
drinking wells,” Minister Gunewardane said.
He added that these teams will work in collaboration
with the Medical Officers of Health to identify
polluted wells and treat them.
The minister urged that any person still affected
can directly contact any of the Water Board field
offices or the four special teams regarding their
Disaster Management Minister A.H.M. Fowzie assured
that almost all the displaced have returned to their
homes. “We have helped all those who were under our
care to return to their homes. All essential
facilities will be re-established,” the minister
Meanwhile, DMC reported yesterday that 767 houses
were completely damaged by the floods. When asked
about the government’s stand on this issue, Minister
Fowzie said that the government will provide
compensation for all those who have lost their
“We have requested all Divisional Secretariats to
send us a list of the people whose houses were fully
damaged. We will definitely provide compensation for
The minister added that almost all the houses that
were partially damaged were restored and cleaned up.
The DMC is now preparing for the next possible
torrential rains and ensuing floods through
establishing a special warning programme. The
programme, which is different from the early tsunami
warning system, employs volunteers to help detect
According to Assistant Director of DMC Early
Warning Division, Pradeep Kodippili, the new system
is based on self awareness and self evacuation. “We
have established special committees in almost all of
the towns and villages prone to floods. The
responsibility of these committees is to monitor
water levels in their nearby rivers and lakes,”
According to him, there are at least 15
committees in each town. “We have determined the
number of committees per town after studying the
flood hazard map that was put together,” he added.
The DMC provided each of these committees with
special rain gauge monitors and river water gauge
monitors. The committee members were also provided
with special rosters according to which they will
have to monitor the gauges.
“If the water levels are above the recommended
level, the committees will announce to the villagers
to self evacuate. We have already provided them with
the necessary training to carry out the evacuation
process,” Kodippili said.
When asked about the selection process of these
committee members, Kodippili said that most of the
selection was done trough the Grama Sevakas who
Kodippili ensures that, though the process is not
entirely failsafe, it will be an effective tool for