Climate Change Secretariat readies for worst case scenario

By Ifham Nizam

The Climate Change Secretariat of the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy will shortly commence climate resilient living programme in Walapane in the Nuwara Eliya district and Medirigiriya in the Polonnaruwa District.

Ministry officials told The Island that the three-year programme would focus on climate change adaptation strategies.

The Secretariat has received Rs. 7.9 billion through foreign funding. According to officials, plans are underway to introduce drought resistant crops within the first year.

A recent study by the committee on National Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Sri Lanka identified 16 Divisional Secretariat Division as highly vulnerable to drought exposure.

"We need some Rs. 48 billion to implement the adaptation and mitigation policies for the period 2011 to 2016," an official said.

Environmentalists believe that before the government resorts to mega projects, attempts should be made to comply with the mitigation and adaptation policies as climate change would certainly affect a country like Sri Lanka.

The affected Divisional Secretariat Divisions have 100,317 households with agriculture as their primary source of income, according to sources.r

Out of 400,973 acres of agricultural lands 176,852 acres (44.1 per cent) are cultivated with paddy, while, 3,153 tanks irrigate a total area of 88,395 acres in the affected areas, the study has revealed.

Anamaduwa (Puttalam District), Ambalantota (Hambantota District), and Polpithigama (Kurunegala District) are the most vulnerable areas, according to the study.

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