Eight schools, 1,674 students affected by disasters – CM


by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Sabaragamuwa Province Chief Minister Maheepala Herath yesterday confirmed that eight schools and 1,674 schoolchildren had been affected by recent floods and landslides triggered by heavy showers in the province.

Addressing the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) weekly press briefing at the party headquarters in Colombo, he said 5,187 people belonging to1,651 families were displaced and they were located at 65 safe places in the province.

The press conference was delayed for more than two hours and the journalists were told that the participants had been summoned for an urgent meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena regarding today's no-confidence motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

UPFA General Secretary and Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Mahinda Amaraweera and Social Empowerment and Welfare Minister S.B. Dissanayake who were supposed to participate in the press briefing however did not attend it despite the two hours delay. Chief Minister Herath had to hold the briefing alone.

Highlighting the post-disaster situation in Sabaragamuwa Province, Chief Minister Herath said Chinese funds had been granted to build houses for the victims and the land selection process would be completed by Friday under the guidance of the National Building Research Organization (NBRO).

All victims were legal residents of the area and the majority of them had more than one acre of land each. Therefore, they should be given alternative land to re-start their lives, he added.

A total of 244 houses had been destroyed by landslides and many people had been evacuated due to landslide risks, Herath noted.

At the beginning four schools had been used to relocate displaced people but now only two Tamil medium schools had been used as they were on vacation during Ramazan period, Herath said.

Referring to the figures of Aranayake landslide causalities, the Chief Minister said 47 persons had been confirmed dead while 102 others were listed as missing. Over 40 had been injured by the disaster, the Chief Minister said.

Aranayake and Dehiowita were the worst affected areas in Kegalle District, he said.

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