Daily Mirror - Print Edition

President orders Army, Timber Corp. to back CMC to remove risky city trees ASAP

27 May 2024 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

  • Public can alert Colombo Fire Brigade hotline ‘110’ about hazardous trees
  • CMC set up disaster committee to face weather-related incidents 

By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana  and Sheain Fernandopulle  

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) will receive backing from the State Timber Corporation and Sri Lanka Army to immediately remove over 100 remaining old and large decaying city trees posing a great danger to the people and property, as per an order by the President, the Daily Mirror learns.

During the last seven days, starting from the Vesak week from May 20th over 59 incidents of falling of city trees or damaged branches owing to the prevailing inclement weather has been reported to the CMC within the Greater Colombo area.

The Daily Mirror reported last week that the CMC has recognized about 1,000 city trees needing immediate attention and out of which 500 trees have problematic conditions. The authorities have identified 200 such trees that are old and in a very vulnerable state, requiring them to be felled as soon as possible to avert any hazard to the public or property.

When contacted, Commissioner Colombo Municipal Council Bhadrani Jayawardena told the Daily Mirror considering the prevailing situation President Ranil Wickremesinghe has ordered the Army and the State Timber Corporation to assist the CMC in removing the risky trees.

Since January this year, to date the CMC has removed about 90 old trees from the list of 200 identified high-risk trees and about 110 such trees remain to be felled.

A special meeting was held last week by the senior CMC officials with the Timber Corporation authorities and the army to launch a programme in this regard and the Timber Corporation has volunteered to remove the remaining 110 high-risk trees with their staff and machinery, the Commissioner said.

“We have a special unit at the CMC that operates round the clock in responding to the falling of trees and we are currently backed by the police and the Colombo Fire Brigade. The public could use the hotline of the Fire Brigade ‘110’ to report any incident of potential hazard of risky trees.

The problem at the moment is that despite the identified old trees, fairly young trees that are strong and firm were falling due to the gusty winds and rainstorms, thus we have to be extra careful,” Commissioner Jayawardena said.

A special disaster committee has been set up at the CMC under the leadership of Colombo Fire Chief and Director CMC Environment Division with Director Charity to assist the residents who were affected by the floods and weather hazards. Over 500 displaced persons of Nagalagam Street and Thotalanga areas have been given temporary shelter at community centres and meals provided, she further said.