A special cabinet meeting will be chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the Mihiriyabedda landslide that killed scores of people and destroyed more than hundred houses, and large number of persons still missing. This was announced in Parliament by Chief Whip, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.
Describing this as the worst natural disaster in recent times, he said President Rajapaksa has instructed officials to take full responsibility for orphaned children. He visited the site of landslide this morning and will issue a statement on future action soon.
Minister Gunawardane said that as decided by the President, the government will take responsibility for the schooling and other needs of the children who lost their parents in the landslide.
Despite inclement weather conditions, the rescue and relief operations are continuing, he said. Of the landslide affected people, 522 have been sheltered at the Koslanda Tamil School and another 317 at the Poonagala Tamil School. They are being provided with food and essential facilities.
The Disaster Management Center, District Secretariat, National Building Research Organization, the Police and Army have been deployed for relief and rescue work. Special health units have been set up and the Minister of Health has sent additional medical teams from Colombo to assist.
Minister Gunawardane said the government would provide food, clothing and other essential items to the affected people. He expressed confidence that Non Governmental Organizations, private sector, voluntary organizations and the public would also provide assistance to the displaced persons.
The government will arrange the funerals for the victims of the landslide tragedy.
Miriyabedda was identified as a landslide prone area in 2005 and it was recommended that 75 families should vacate that area. It was confirmed once again in 2011 and 35 families were given alternative land to build houses. Some who took such land continued to occupy houses in Miriyabedda and became victims of yesterday’s landslide.