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Natural disasters in Sri Lanka

Natural disasters are destructions and demolitions caused by nature. This natural phenomenon is the result of the man’s squalid activities and his lackadaisical approach towards nature. Floods, droughts and landslides are the most prevalent disasters in SriLanka.

These disasters cause a lot of damage, chaos and havoc in the country, while causing a large number of casualties. The recent natural crisis is the tsunami catastrophe which hit our island in year 2004, culminating an enormous death toll and losses of property.

The main reason for this is that Sri Lankans have no means of counteracting these disasters. To avoid this, on one hand, remedial measures should be taken.

On the other hand preparedness is essential. Initially, the fact that ‘prevention is better than cure’ should be comprehended and taken into consideration. That is, one should leave the Nature as it is. Tragically, people cut down trees, often surreptiously, with vested interest and for lucrative purposes. Also, pollution has become inherent in our country.

Further, blasting rocks, mining and many other atrocious human activities stimulate the nature to become disastrous. These should be prevented; else, disasters will be inevitable.

It is very much essential that people should inculcate an altruistic nature in them. This is a major antidote for natural disasters. One should plant at least one tree in their home garden, endeavour to clean at least a small portion of what is polluted, prevent further pollution and cutting down trees, also avoide over-construction. This would diminish and avert the number of natural disasters in Sri Lanka.

Subsequently, people should be prepared for these disasters. That is, one should be aware of how to react during these dynamic disasters. Moreover, safety elements like early warning systems, boats during floods and many other requisite facilities should be rendered to the public.

Therefore, the Government should overtly take necessary measures regarding this issue without merely dilly dallying over it. This would mitigate the current predicament of our country. It is true that we cannot clap with one hand. Thus, the onus is on both the public and on the Government to protect nature and hand over a salubrious country to our future generation.

RUSHDA RAMEEZ
Rajagiriya

English failures at O/Level exam

The programme to educate students in English is sabotaged by officials who are Sinhala Only victims. They fear that those who study English will steal a march over them.

Entrusting formulation of English texts to unqualified persons is effective sabotage. It is surprising how these persons were selected. Another is recruiting those with only O/Level English pass, as ‘English teachers’.

I taught English to my son who was in the Tamil stream by using the English Grammar and Exercises Parts I to IV by Chapman. Just half an hour a day was enough.

I will recommend these books to all parents - English literate or not. They are still available, I believe.

DAS SAMUEL

Crocodiles galore

During the 8 pm Sinhala news broadcast from Rupavahini on the 9th inst, I heard the dreadful news that altogether 16 people had been killed by crocodiles in the Nilvala Ganga alone, very recently.

This is very alarming as the residents living on the banks of this rivers have to use the river for their various needs regularly.

Crocodiles living in rivers, lagoons and other waterways cannot normally be seen as they are very cunning and move in these waterways only with their eyes at water level.

From the North till the deep South they are present everywhere. There are many varieties of crocodiles but the estuarine varieties are the most man-eating ones. They go up to around 22 ft or more in length.

Both the authorities looking after wildlife and the ordinary villager has not made any move to control or curb them. As in other countries quick action has to be taken to cull these awful beasts.

They have been multiplying at an uncontrollable rate all these years.

Will the authorities plan and carry out a determined culling campaign?

ARTHUR MORAWAKA
Ratmalana

Rein in criminal organisations

Prime Minister Ratansiri Wickremanyeke in an unprecedented act of contrition for a ruling party Sinhalese Minister, apologised sincerely to the Tamils on behalf of the Government for evicting 376 of them from their lodgings in Colombo on June 7.

By apologizing, he went a long way to remove the shame that reflected ultimately on the Sinhalese majority.

He accepted without reservation that the act was wrong. It was also uncaring but not calculated cruelty. He stated unequivocally that the State bore the responsibility for it.

He promised that those responsible would be made to answer for their actions and that such acts would not be repeated. By his action which was given in his usual forthright, sincere manner, he limited the damage done to the reputation of the nation.

This is the best time as any for every Sinhalese politician to apologize in a similar manner for all the wrongs done to the Tamils since independence.

The wrongs include the violence in the racial riots of 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983, the opposition to pacts which would have resolved the differences that kept the Tamils from sharing State power such as the B-C and the D-C pacts, the declaration of ‘war’ on the Tamils in 1977, the burning of the public library in Jaffna in 1981 and finally the excesses in the on going 25 year old conflict which largely have gone unpunished and unacknowledged by the State.

While it is well known that misdirected State power is abused by those entrusted to keep the peace, it has also been directed at all communities indiscriminately at all times with an aura of impunity because the Governments in power gave protection to the wrong doers.

This was often done by looking the other way when abuses took place especially when the victims were not Government supporters. There was no discrimination by the community.

Unfortunately the eviction was aimed at the Tamils who had flooded the city basically to escape from the fighting in their areas.

It is now up to the Government to deliver on its promises to punish the wrong doers. It must not spare those responsible for the killings and the abductions. It is clear that these reprehensible actions have been done by professionals either with underworld or with military backgrounds.

They are definitely not serving members of the forces or the police. Too many ex servicemen and ex policemen have become hired guns protected by politicians. The notorious execution squads of Black Cats of the 1988/9 period must still be around.

Having committed countless murders and thereby forfeiting their lives, they have no scruples to promote their evil ways as those who hired and are hiring them know. Especially now that the ransoms are in hundreds of millions.

It is strange that the insurance companies are not offering their services to offer some protection as they did when the high profile kidnapping of a well known businessman occurred near the Colombo Golf Club some time ago.

Small arms distributed copiously without control to politicians and their erstwhile catchers in 1988/9 are still in circulation and obviously being put to criminal use with and without the knowledge of those who obtained them. A few security companies have special highly skilled dangerous men who are also not without work in the present scenario.

They gain a foothold at elections being hired by politicians who if they are on the winning side continue to keep to their criminal agenda. The criminals among them have their own agendas as they are immune to arrest. It starts with ballot stuffing and rigging. Big security companies and even small ones have been guilty of such nefarious activities.

The proliferation of small arms and the help of former friends and relatives serving in the Forces and the Police are used to aid and abet in criminal activities.

If the politicians who want to stop this spate of criminal activities are sincere, they must collectively agree to the confiscation of weapons from every one outside the Forces and the Police as in Singapore, the example of a state they never tire to uphold to promote their objectives but without the sense of discipline and probity of that state.

That would be the first step to immediately cull these criminal organisations if the state is to keep to its promises. The state will now be not only responsible but also guilty for the crimes that have and are being committed, if they are not able to bring the offenders to book rapidly.

There can be no next time as the Premier said. The affected Tamils once again bailed the Sinhalese out by promptly returning to Colombo, rejecting entreaties of the LTTE.

Thank you and well done Premier. I join you in apologizing to the affected Tamils and bless them for forgiving us by returning even if they may not forget.

LALIN FERNANDO

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