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Flood relief distribution: needs attention

20 May 2016 10:37 pm - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Even though lorry loads of dry rations, food and other requirements were pouring into the flood affected areas in Kelaniya and other areas in Colombo, people complained that there was no proper ground level mechanism to ensure that they reached to the people who were actually affected and in need of assistance.

People who were displaced by the floods in some areas in Kelaniya, Kelanimulla, Bogahawatte and Angoda alleged that no responsible officer was there in the ground level to monitor the process of providing dry rations by various donors and well-wishes from all parts of the country.

Residents in Kelanimulla and Bogahawatte pointed out that some people who were trapped in unreachable places were unattended while those who were staying by the roadside gained the most of the food and dry rations unreasonably.

Ajith Kumara, a resident of Bogahawatte told us that his house was under water up to the roof and that his wife and child who were trapped there were taken out and sent to his friend's house while his 86-year-old grandmother who was reluctant to leave the house was trapped in the house situated in an unreachable place.

“My house is under water upto the roof. My wife, son and grandmother were staying in the house. I sent my wife and little son to a friend’s house but my grandmother is reluctant to leave. During Wednesday and Thursday, we were helpless without food, water and electricity, and were provided with food by the air force in choppers. There are about 200 families there. Most of them are reluctant to leave the houses despite the hardships. Some of them are staying on roof-tops. We have faced another danger as crocodiles are also moving around, he lamented.

The daily mirror team that visited the flood affected Kelaniya , Kelanimulla, Bogahawatte and Angoda areas were able to witness the hardships that the affected people were undergoing, specially women and children who were left without sanitary facilities and medicine.

Some women who spoke to us said they were badly in need of sanitarywear such as underwear and women’s clothes and medicines for children such as panadol syrup, gripe water etc.

Lieutenant R.W.H. Premasiri of the Sri Lanka infantry regiment who was engaged in humanitarian assistance and rescue operations told us that they were providing every possible assistance to the displaced and they were short of small boats to reach some inner lanes that were inundated.

“There are some places where we cannot reach by normal boats. We need small boats to reach such places,” he said.

We were able to witness the commitment of the security personnel beyond their duty. Most of them had not even changed their uniforms for days.

Lieutenant Premasiri and his team were transporting dry rations and other needs to the affected, by boats.

The people in the area were committed to assist their neighbours who were in distress even though there was no responsible authority to monitor the process.

However, they said, as there was no official to monitor the process, some organized people were taking undue advantage of the lorry loads of food and dry rations donated by well-wishes while some others were left even without basic needs. (Ajith Siriwardana)

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  Comments - 4

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  • citizen a Saturday, 21 May 2016 08:20 AM

    Please note this is a emergency situation.you need time to organize .also catering for everyone is a tuff ask.also our people love to criticize and condemn.

    Concerned Citizen Saturday, 21 May 2016 09:25 AM

    This government has failed again. If the public didn't come forward, affected people would be in worse condition. It took leaders of his government more than 3 days even to make a statement let alone getting on to the ground. Please help.

    amy Saturday, 21 May 2016 09:34 AM

    Lives are the important things.. Not the property. So leave the place and move to a safer location.don't complain that you didnt get help

    Jup Saturday, 21 May 2016 09:46 AM

    Yeah...you can't expect other people to risk their lives trying to feed you when you're risking your lives for your properties. Be safe first.


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