Additional teams to be deployed to expedite identifying of landslide prone areas


by Maheesha Mudugamuwa in Aranayake

Additional National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) teams would be deployed to expedite the on-going investigations to identify landslide prone areas in Aranayake in the Kegalle District, Disaster Management Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said on Thursday.

Addressing the District Disaster Management Committee Meeting at Aranayake District Hospital, Minister Yapa ordered that the people in landslide prone areas be evacuated.

The Minister stressed that though the NBRO officials had declared some areas as safe, people were afraid to live there. He stressed the need for raising public awareness.

Minister Yapa noted that people would not be resettled in the areas affected by the devastating landslide but their agricultural lands would be given to them.

Public Enterprise Development Minister Kabir Hashim, Deputy Health Minister Lalith Dissanayake, Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Maheepala Herath and other government officials including the officials of the NBRO also participated in the meeting.

A group of victims of Aranayake landslide held a demonstration in front of the Aranayake District hospital demanding an immediate and permanent solutions to the problems disaster victims were faced with.

According to Aranayake Divisional Secretary, thirty one bodies had been recovered from Samasara Hill landslide area and 96 were still missing and they were also believed to have been buried.

In the Kegalle District, 37,686 people were affected by landslides and landslide risks and 4,107 have been relocated to 47 safe places. Four schools, including three Tamil medium schools and one Sinhala medium school are being used as welfare centres.

Public Enterprise Development Minister Kabir Hashim said steps had been taken to suspend the repayment of the bank loans drawn by the victims of the landslide in Samasara hill until they were in a position to engage in income generation activities.

Minister Yapa requested the affected people not to combine the incident of Salawa in Avissawella with the natural disaster that had occurred in Aranayake. He said so when he was asked by a landslide victim why the landslide victims did not get the same monthly allowance as those affected by the Salawa army camp fire.

The government would compensate the victims who had lost their houses under the Disaster Insurance Scheme (DIS), Yapa assured.

Accordingly Rs. 100,000 to 2,500,000 would be paid considering the nature of the damaged property, Yapa said.

He stressed that Salawa incident was not a natural disaster and, therefore, the government was obliged to settle the damages of the victims but in Aranayake it was a natural disaster and it was covered by the DIS which had been introduced by the present government.

"We have already paid Rs. 10,000 as an initial installment of the compensation," Yapa noted.

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