Some 250,000 rain-affected people still in camps
Dec 27, 2012

Nearly 250,000 people who were displaced because of the torrential rains that lashed the country and the resultant floods are still living in 186 makeshift camps, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said yesterday. He said only about five per cent of the paddy fields were affected by the rains

The minister, who returned from an inspection tour in Batticaloa, said the district was the worst affected from among 16 districts that went under water in the recent floods.

“Only about five per cent of the paddy fields which are at the early stage of the Maha season have been flooded. Therefore, I think there won’t be much of an impact on the rice production in the 2012/2013 Maha season,” the minister said and added that all affected farmers would be compensated by the Government.

Meanwhile, Irrigation Director General Badra Kamaladasa said 71 major tanks and reservoirs and 160 medium capacity tanks had reached spill level and a majority of them were overflowing.

She said the extent of damage could not be assessed because of the continuing heavy rains in the catchment areas.

“The paddy fields that have gone under water are not bloomed yet. The paddy plants have the capacity to withstand floods before bloom. Therefore, if there is no rain by January by the time paddy plants bloom, I do not think there will be a problem for paddy production in the Maha season,” Ms. Kamaladasa said.

She said the districts of Ampara, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Badulla, Batticaloa, Hambantota, Matale, Kurunegala, Monaragala, Polonnaruwa, Buttala, Matale, Trincomalee, Vavuniya, Mannar and Matara have been flooded in varying conditions but Polonnaruwa, Matale, Puttalam and Batticaloa districts had suffered heavy losses.

Disaster Management Centre spokesman Pradeep Kodippili said the heavy rains and the floods had killed 34 people and injured 22 while nine were still reported missing. Some 4019 houses have also been destroyed. Families and homes in the Southern and Eastern Provinces were the most affected by the floods in the past few days in several areas in Matale including Laggala, Rattota and Ukuwella where there have been several earthslips and roads blocked. Nine people had died in Matale.

Meanwhile the floods in Batticaloa had affected in 61,924 families in the Eastern province while some 1,631 families were affected in Trincomalee.

Among the affected were 2,703 families in the Central Province, 5,049 families in the NorthCentral Province, 6,851 families in the North-Western Province, 5,905 families in Northern Province, 4,265 families in the Sabaragamuwa Province and 811 families in the Southern Province. The Meteorology Department in its forecast for the next 24 hours ending 6.00 a.m. today said occasional or thunder showers would occur in the Northern, North-Central, Eastern, Central and Uva provinces and in Hambantota district.

“Fairly heavy rainfall (about 75 milimetres) is possible at some places. Showers or thunder showers will develop at several places elsewhere during the afternoon and night. In addition, some showers can be expected along the Western coastal areas in the morning, There may be fairly strong NorthEasterly winds at times over the island and surrounding areas,” the Met Department said.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka

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