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Mullivaikkal lacking clean drinking water 13 years on

8 months ago

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  • Villagers travel 8 km to Pudumathalan to buy water 
  • Local wells contaminated with munitions not cleaned; CKDu on the rise   
  • NWSDB wants list of wells but says no money for building tank or costly well cleaning, suggests NGO involvement for funding  
  BY Dinitha Rathnayake  The problem of the lack of clean drinking water experienced in the Mullivaikkal area has not received any solutions from successive governments, even though yesterday (18) marked the 13-year anniversary of the end of the war between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Speaking to The Morning, several villagers claimed that they have to travel to Pudumathalan, a neighbouring village, to obtain clean water. “We have to travel eight kilometres (km) from Mullivaikkal to Pudumathalan to get clean water. Our wells are not clean. The authorities from Colombo and regional areas have come to check the water but we have not received any solution yet.” According to the villagers, the water resources in the area are contaminated due to bullets and shells. An increase in the number of cases of chronic kidney disease of unknown aetiology (CKDu) in Sri Lanka has become a health issue of national concern. Even though the Northern Province is not identified as a high-risk province for the same, there is an increasing trend of CKDu after the end of the civil war in the Northern Province, according to the villagers.  “We are already suffering from the current crisis and shortages in the country. Before 2009, water was fine in the area, but now we have no option but to buy water. How can anyone survive without clean water?” the villagers queried. National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) Mullaitivu Duty Officer Arumaithurai Amirtharanjan said that he would be able to find a solution for the issue, and urged that he be provided with a list of wells in the area. “We don't have funds to do anything but it is possible to discuss this issue with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and to try to get their financial support.” Accordingly, he said that there would only be two solutions for this matter where either they have to build a tank and supply drinking water or clean the wells. “However, to clean one well, it might cost around Rs. 20,000,” Amirtharanjan added.