President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered officials to provide the maximum possible relief for those affected by the torrential rains throughout the country.
The President requested the Disaster Management Ministry to release unlimited funds to meet all contingencies, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.
Around Rs 200 million has been allocated to provide relief and facilities to the people affected by the bad weather. Provisions made by subsidies during the recent drought were also being utilized to meet the present emergency, he said.
During the past two weeks, six people died, 12 were injured and 18,590 families comprising 69,659 individuals were affected as result of the bad weather. The President requested the Security Forces and departments to give priority to save lives and avert disasters in the current situation, he said.
The minister said they were able to reduce the number of deaths due to the dedicated action of the ministry officials and staff . All leave in the disaster management offices and also of the security forces were canceled and they performed their services round the clock , he said.
The government took action to provide cooked meals from the very first day while, dry rations also were distributed. The policy of the government is not to let anyone go in hunger, he said.
Eighteen Districts were affected by the inclement whether, the Minister revealed. The government was prepared to deal with floods as it did with the drought . Already we are preparing for the next emergency . That is why our officers were able to take proper action to face the present situation, he said. Recently the entire Colombo city went under water during a small downpour when the rain fall was 40 mm. However due to development projects of the government as well as renovating reservoirs and creating new reservoirs, clearing all canals and culverts the Colombo town was not flooded even when rain fall was around 160mm this time he explained.
Around Rs. 8 billion was allocated to develop low lands by Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Low Land Development Authority other relevant institutions. Funds were allocated to implement flood control in Jaffna, Panadura, Dambulla, he said. JICA funds will be allocated to prevent landslides in schools in the up country areas.
Deputy Director Irrigation Hydro Prema Hettiarachchi said, rivers such as Kelani, Kalu, Nilwala, Gin were about to overflow . Power generating reservoirs have also reached spill levels. However, the Mahaweli reservoirs have not filled yet. The Deputy Director warned the public to be careful about falling trees.
The Disaster Management offices in the Colombo Municipal area will take steps to look into the threat posed by trees. The Meteorology Department Director General S H Kariyawasam said that, strong winds, rainy weather together rough seas save the eastern sea could be continue.
The Meteorology Department will be issuing its bulletins on the regular basis to warn the public about the change in weather patterns. He said cyclone Neelam was now feeble, reported the Daily News.