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Action to prevent flash floods

COLOMBO: In a move to rectify the blunders which caused the recent flash floods, the Disaster Management Ministry has called for reports from the four affected districts, identifying the individual causes.

Citing ad-hoc filling of marshy land, unattended lakes that had been blocked for years, blocked drainage systems and illegal structures as the reasons for flooding, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said he has directed district officials to submit a comprehensive report outlining recommendations on how to mitigate the problem in their areas.

Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara and Galle districts suffered heavily in the recent torrential rains caused by a depression in the East Bengal Bay.

The flash floods displaced a total of over 145,000 and claimed 17 lives.

The district report is to embody the causes, prevention and mitigation measures as well as required funding to implement the identified projects.

“I will take their recommendations in a single comprehensive report before the Cabinet shortly,” the Minister said.

“We can get the funding for the restorations, renovations and constructions from the Treasury or if unable to do so would go to the External Resources Department of the Finance Ministry and get donor funding for the envisaged projects.”

“This cannot be done by the Ministry alone. We need people’s cooperation, especially when removing illegal structures in the City, a major cause for floods,” Samarasinghe added.

Meanwhile, the Colombo Floods Committee of the Disaster Management Ministry will clean and deepen the lakes circulating within the Colombo municipality under a Rs.80 million project to ensure there would no floods in Colombo during the forthcoming monsoon season.

Addressing a press conference at the Disaster Management Ministry yesterday, the Disaster Management Secretary P. Dias Amarasinghe said the programme was now in full swing and they hope to conclude it before monsoon rains which are expected later this month.

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