Govt. assures protestors blocking road speedy relief

Salawa Army Camp Fire :


by Zacki Jabbar

Amidst protests by Salawa residents against re-opening the Colombo-Avissawella road yesterday prior to cleaning the debris as a result of last Sunday’s fire at Salawa Army Camp in Kosgama, the government said steps had been taken to ensure that normalcy returned.

Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne told a news conference in Colombo, that the government was concerned about the welfare of the affected persons and would ensure that the houses damaged as a result of the fire that had erupted at the ammunition storage facility of the army camp were rebuilt as quickly as possible.

According to official statistics 300 houses in proximity to the camp have been completely destroyed while another 600 were partly damaged resulting in around 18,000 people being displaced. One soldier was killed and seven others were wounded.

Senaratne said that a high level committee was inquiring into the cause of the fire. Several reasons had been adduced, he noted, adding that necessary safeguards would be taken to prevent a repetition

The Defence Ministry said that the army had commenced the removal of debris and the process of reconstructing damaged houses in the vicinity of the Salawa Army camp.

The Navy said that its personnel were restoring clean water supplies which had been affected by the fire.

It was not clear if a fire had been lit during a drill. The findings of the on going Court of Inquiry should be out soon, Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said.

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