Disaster Management Minister, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said they are now trying to amend the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) Act and insert a condition that, in future, prior to constructing a house or building NBRO approval should be obtained. However, we don’t want the people inconvenienced, either. We propose to give a time frame for the NBRO and request them to issue the certificate within four weeks. In an interview with the Sunday Observer, the Minister said, at present, there is no Building Code and that they have prepared a document to formulate a new Code. He said, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has pledged to extend support in this regard. We intend to consult all stakeholders and table it in Parliament soon.
Excessive clearing of forest and cultivation practices have contributed to making Aranayake and three hillside villages extremely vulnerable to landslides, an expert on landslides told the Sunday Observer.
Director, Landslide Research and Risk Management Division, R. M. Senarath Bandara said poor land use is a serious contributor to landslides, though often overlooked.
Bandara said the entire region should be mapped and declared as a restricted zone with no human activity being permitted.
To many it was not ‘tears from heaven’ but a ‘flood of destruction’ as the skies opened out across Sri Lanka this week, causing tragedy, destruction and trauma.
In this hour of grief however, the business community aided by technology coming together – helping even rivals or competitors – and rising above petty jealousy or trading squabbles was the highlight of the week. The hard part however is in post-crisis rebuilding with donor fatigue already setting in.
The shining light across the week was the manner in which technology helped relief and rescue efforts. Relief for instance from helpful Sri Lankans was possible by just pressing a button via e-commerce webs like takas.lk.
Originally published in the Sunday Times Editorial
The floods and the landslides in most parts of the country have put a literal dampener on celebrations to mark Vesak, the month that is significant to Buddhists throughout the world. None celebrate the occasion with such gusto as the Sri Lankans.
Nature’s forces are a grim reminder that humanity is at the mercy of such external factors and man can make it worse. In the midst of grandiose plans for a Megapolis in the Western province, thousands of families have been flooded out of their homes or marooned by swirling waters after just two days of incessant rains and some showers thereafter. The death toll is still rising.
Many man-made reasons are attributed to the flooding and landslides, not least haphazard ‘development’, bad urban planning, corruption within local councils and the pressure of population on available land.
The most recent population projections expect the Island’s population to reach 25 million by 2042 and 25.8 million by 2062. It is expected to stabilise around the mid 2060s at 25-26 million. This is a significant departure from earlier projections that expected population stability much earlier at around 23-24 million in the 2030s and to decline thereafter.
This higher population growth that is mainly due to the recent increase in fertility from below replacement level to above replacement level, poses serious social and economic challenges in education, health, care of the elderly, public finances and retirement benefits.
Floods and landslides have become more frequent than ever before. Our generation (post-war baby boomers) grew alongside a different rhythm of weather (not of heart) tragedies – 1947, 1957, 1964, 1978, 1986, and so on. Tsunami (2004) greeted the millennials and the weather gods have taken to more frequent devastation ever since. The odd thing about the current climate calamity is that it has struck virtually the entire island with the same intensity and at the same time. One newspaper report listed in full – 22 of the 25 districts as affected areas. Ampara, Batticaloa and Moneragala are the spared ones. And the source of the trouble – Cyclone Roanu, located in the Bay of Bengal, also seems odd for this time of the year. It has brought torrential rains to Sri Lanka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and finally Bangladesh.
The issue of traffic in Kandy City Roads has been the centre of much debate over the past few months. A number of media reports on the same have highlighted the issue and possible solutions.
As many of those reports very correctly pointed out loss of time, air pollution, diseases due to pollution in Kandy town limits grow as a result of this menace, an immediate practical solutions is needed to address the issue.
Wed, Feb 17, 2016, 11:21 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Feb 17, Colombo: The Sri Lankan Government had decided to spend Rs. 1.975 billion to upgrade the facilities at the Department of Meteorology, the Ministry of Disaster Management disclosed.
The government had provided funds for the Meteorology Department to acquire sophisticated high-tech equipment in order to forecast more accurate weather information to the public. The government also plans to provide more human and physical resources to the Department.
The current dry spell experienced in the country is a result of the EL Nino phenomenon, the Department of Meteorology said yesterday.
A duty forecaster from the Department told the Daily Mirror that the dry weather normally prevailed at this time of the year brought on by the dry winds which blows from the North but said it had intensified this year as a result of the El Nino.
When it comes to monsoonal rainfall, the saying “when it rains, it pours” is usually an apt description. With that said, the rains that fell across Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, southern Thailand, and Australia during the second half of December and beginning of January were unusually heavy, even for this extremely wet region of the globe.
From December 14 through the first two weeks of January, more than 39 inches (1000 mm) of rain fell in parts of Malaysia. On the Malay Peninsula, in just 24 hours between December 21-22, the city of Kuantan observed up to 10 inches (255mm) of rain.
The rains extended as far south as the remote Dampier Peninsula in northwestern Australia, where, during the beginning of January, more than 400mm fell in 24 hours in Cape Leveque. The 400mm nearly double the previous 24-hr January record at the station. In fact, the number could have even been higher except the rain gauge overflowed. It was the tenth highest daily rainfall amount on record in Western Australia. Overall, rains since December 14 were 150-600% of normal across Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, southern Thailand and northern Australia.