Dec 30, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured to provide alternate land to the people living in landslides-prone areas and asked them to evacuate if there is a disaster threat.
During a visit to the Rattota electorate in Matale district, the President told the residents that the government would acquire the disaster-prone lands and provide them suitable alternate lands.
He was visiting the area on Saturday (29) to inspect the damage caused by floods and landslides and to inquire the well-being of the affected families who have been sheltered in 14 welfare camps.
The President told the people that the government was prepared to provide alternate lands for those identified as disaster-threatened areas and arrangements have been made to compensate the affected families.
Pointing out that despite warning people continue to live in disaster-prone areas, the President emphasized that residents need to take the expert warnings seriously and evacuate to safety before disaster strikes.
The President instructed the authorities to carry out necessary tests in the areas prone to earth slips before granting permission to construct buildings in those areas.
President Rajapaksa also handed over financial assistance to those residents whose houses were damaged by the disaster in the Rattota electorate.
Each of the 94 families with a partially damaged house received 50,000 rupees while 25 families whose houses damaged received 100,000 rupees each.
Measures were also in place to distribute dry rations, garments and other utensils to the affected persons.
The President also opened the weather-damaged Andavala Bridge that was rebuilt at a cost of 2.5 million rupees with the personal funds of Parliamentarian Lakshman Wasantha Perera.
He inspected the progress of the repair work on the Rathgammana Bridge across the Amban River connecting the Matale and Laggala electorates. The heavy rains have washed away the banks of the bridge and the Army with the help of the residents is carrying out the reconstructions.
Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, deputy ministers Nandimithra Ekanayake and Rohana Dissanayake, MPS, Lakshman Perera and Lohan Ratwatte, Central Province Governor Tikiri Kobbekaduwa and Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Highways R. W. R. Pemasiri participate in the events.
(Photos by Nalin Hewapathirana)