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News  


 

Torrential rains, winds kill 17
By S. Selvakumar
Torrential rains and gale force winds caused havoc in the Galle and Matara districts and have so far claimed 17 lives. This figure could rise due to continuous disastrous climatic conditions that prevailed as this edition went to press.
A number of houses were also badly affected by lashing winds and thunder showers, reports added.
 However, no casualties have been reported in the Eastern Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts where heavy rains broke out on Thursday but floods destroyed valuable crops including thousands of acres of paddy and made roads impassable, Centre for Disaster Management said yesterday.
 Meanwhile, government allocated funds to all District Secretaries island wide depending on the magnitude of the disaster. According to Assistant Director and Media Spokesman of Disaster Management Centre, Pradeep Kodippili, the damages caused both in the South and the East could run up  to several millions rupees though no survey has still been carried out  to estimate damages.” Government is ready to allocate adequate funds and District Secretaries have been informed to seek financial assistance to house the displaced and provide them with meals and other urgent requirements,” Kodippili said.
 He also said so far the State has not called for any assistance from private sector or NGOs, though such voluntary assistance would be much welcomed.
 Most people died in the South were fishermen. Some died due to trees falling on their dwellings as gale force winds reached 70 kmh at times. The bad climatic condition still remains and widespread rains have been predicted in all parts on the country.
 Security forces and police have been servicing in the disaster hit areas and they were engaged in rescue operations last evening. They were also transporting people to safer areas and housing them in school buildings and at religious places.
 Situation in the South was calm after Friday’s storm but in the East heavy showers continued for the third successive day yesterday. Police advised people to avoid traveling to the Southern coastal areas and to Batticaloa.

 Several roads in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa still remain inundated and Meteorological Department forecasts more rains island wide.
 Duty Officer at Colombo Observatory, Meteorologist P.D. Yasaratne said last afternoon that occasional showers or thunder showers would continue over most part of the country and fairly heavy rainfalls and strong winds were likely in some places. During the last 24 hours,   the highest rainfall of 111.2 mm was registered at Haldummulla followed by 68.3 mm in Bandarawela. Both places are located in the Central Province. Damages due to natural disaster are minimal in these areas.
 However the Southern coastal areas where maximum damage was caused registered a comparatively less 45.5 mm of rain but the gale force winds caused havoc and disaster.