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Over 35,000 affected by floods, landslides

Over 35,000 people were affected by the heavy rains which brought with it floods and landslides around the country, Assistant Director of the Disaster Relief Centre Janaka Gunawardana told The Island yesterday (29)

The most affected areas were the Gampaha, Kalutara, Ratnapura, Kegalle, Puttalam, Nuwara Eliya and Galle districts. In some areas the roads were impassable.

While the flood waters receded in the hilly regions, more areas in the lower reaches of the Kaluganga, Kelaniganga and Ginganga were still flooded, he said.

Meteorologist Ananda Perera said the heavy rain was a side effect of the cyclone ‘Nargis’ which originated in the Bay of Bengal on Sunday but had moved away in a North Easterly direction of the Indian Ocean.

Ratnapura recorded the highest rainfall of 157 mm and the water level of the Kalu Ganga rose to 27 feet by midnight Monday (28) but started receding yesterday.

There were 2,588 families displaced from seven Divisional Secretariat areas in the District and one death was reported from Ayagama, Additional District Secretary Ratnapura S.M. Nandasena said.

Roads in many areas in Elapatha, Pelmadulla, Kuruwita, Kiriella, Ayagama, Opanayaka, Kahangama, Devalagawa were impassable but the water gauge receded to 23 feet by mid day. The flood affected people were given cooked food yesterday.

When the water level decreased in Ratnapura region, the water levels of the lower reaches of Kalunganga swelled and already six Divisional Secretariat areas, Kalutara, Bulathsinhala, Matugama, Palindanuwara, Milleniya, Horana and Ingiriya experienced flood threats, Kalutara District Secretary S. Hapuarachchi said.

There were 2,709 people affected by floods while two houses were completely destroyed and 61 partly, he said. The victims were living with their neighbours and relatives while the government provided them with cooked food, he said.

The water level of the Kelaniganga had risen yesterday and low lying areas of Hanwella, Dompe, Biyagama and Kelaniya were under minor floods. Over 5,000 people were displaced, the Disaster Relief Services Centre said.

Director General of the National Building Research Organization W. B. J. Fernando said there were several areas that could experience landslides due to man made disasters like cutting down hills at 90 degree slopes and felling trees on slopes. Areas like Beragala, Haputale Road, Koslanda in Haputale, Suduhumpola, Bahirawakanda, Mahiyawa and Tennekumbura in Kandy and Nivitigala, the Kalawana, Pelmadulla, Rakwana, Elapatha, Kahawatte areas in Ratnapura, Bulathkohupitiya, Deraniyagla, Yatiyantota, Ruwanwella Aranayake and Kegalle in the Kegalle District and some parts of Galle and Matara Disticts like Neluwa, Yakkalamulla, Pasgoda, Mulatiyana and Matara were likely to experience landslides if rains continued.

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