Landslide alert for 10 districts

Owing to the adverse weather conditions experienced in the country over the last 48 hours, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) has deployed emergency response units in 10 districts that are prone to floods and landslides.

“We have deployed emergency response teams from the Sri Lanka Army and Sri Lanka Navy to these districts, and have also requested the Sri Lanka Air Force to be on standby if their services are required. Over the past weeks, we informed our District Disaster Management Co-ordinating Units to do early evacuations in areas that are prone to landslides and floods without waiting till the last moment,” DMC Director General Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Sudantha Ranasinghe told The Morning.

Maj. Gen. Ranasinghe said that since the country is fighting a pandemic, sheltering these people needs to be done in an orderly manner, following necessary health guidelines even when rescue operations are to be launched during this time.

He also noted that due to the torrential rains experienced in the Kegalle District on Friday (15), one of the houses along the riverbank of Maha Oya washed away. Later, they had found out that the resident had built the house in a zone where there was a risk of flooding and had been marked as an area not suitable for construction.

“Cutting failures were reported on the Kegalle-Colombo Road and Kegalle-Ratnapura Road and the roads are now being fixed. Ten Navy units and eight Army battalions from the Puttalam, Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Kegalle, and Ratnapura Districts have been deployed for emergency response and rescue work. We request the public to co-operate during the relocation process and not wait until it is too late to be moved from a high-risk area,” Maj. Gen. Ranasinghe added.

Meanwhile, the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) issued warnings for landslide hazards in the Galle, Matale, Ratnapura, Kalutara, Matara, Kegalle, Colombo, Kandy, Kurunegala, and Nuwara Eliya Districts.

During this landslide early warning period, the public is required to pay attention to the following pre-landslide signs:
Development of cracks on the ground, deepened cracks, and ground subsidence; slanting of trees, electrical posts, fences, and telephone posts; cracks in the floors and walls of buildings which are built at slopes; and sudden appearance of springs, emerging muddy water, and blockage or disappearance of existing springs. People are requested to move immediately away from the areas where they notice the above pre-landslide signs.

As of last Saturday (16) afternoon, rising river water levels were observed at the Kelani River, Kalu River, Maha Oya, and Attanagalu Oya. The water level at the Glencorse gauging station of the Kelani River was rising while the Holombuwa gauging station water level was decreasing.

The Kalu River gauging station in Millakanda recorded a rising water level and Maha Oya’s Giriulla gauging station recorded a minor flood level but the water level was decreasing. While the water level at the Badalgama gauging station was rising, the water level at the Dunamale gauging station of the Attanagalu Oya was decreasing.