Disaster Management Minister clarifies, denies allegations


Disaster Management Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has stated that he totally denied the allegation that the government did not involve amply to provide relief to the flood affected people.

He made the denial addressing the House in response to the adjournment motion moved by JVP Parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti on the recent flood.

During his address, Minister Yapa said: “The Disaster Management Centre had made all the required warnings. We had sent those warnings to the media and other related institutions. After the data and the warnings were received by the institutions and the officers, they had conveyed the message to the people in the vulnerable areas using the loudspeakers. The Disaster Management Ministry and the Act were set and passed in 2005 following the Tsunami that hit the country.

The natural disasters - floods, storms and land slides - are mostly related to the water. The Meteorological Department makes their predictions using the Numerical Weather Prediction technology. We cannot depend on the international data. The flood situation is provided by the Irrigation Department and the warnings are made based on the same data by the Disaster Management Centre.

The main task of the disaster management is played by the tri forces. The Disaster Management Ministry had spent Rs. 100 million for the tri-forces last year on their training in disaster management. The others who play the important role are the Public Administration Ministry officers led by the Government Agents.
If the disaster is so massive that it is a part of the mechanism to inform the Security Forces to get their assistance. This time they had deployed more than 8,500 personnel to manage the situation. They had provided more than 100,000 meal packets to the flood affected. Seven canteens of theirs had prepared the meals. The Navy had deployed 120 dingy boats and provided more than 100,000 dry rations to the people. The Air Force had engaged in 211 flying hours at a cost of USD 1,500 each hour.

There is one issue. We have not set up disaster centres as natural disasters amply experienced by the country. Constructing such centres have been commenced in Gampaha, Kegalle and Badulla with the funds of Asian Development Bank. Divisional Secretary and the Grama Niladari provide food to people after buying them from relevant places and the bills would be settled by the government.

The government has so far spent Rs. 266 million for the food of the flood affected people during the recent disaster. We have also planed to provide them with dry rations. We have a plan to get Cabinet approval to grant a house rental for those who have no place to go since their houses were destroyed by the disaster. There is a plan to settle those in vulnerable areas on government lands or at other places temporarily.

We have prepared three housing plans for the people in vulnerable areas which could be built at a cost of Rs 1.2 million.Now the houses in Aranayake are constructed. The government has planned to grant Rs. 1.2 million to construct their houses.

It is only Sri Lanka in the Asian Region that has insured all the people and houses in the country. We have to be proud of it.We have paid Rs. 300 million to the insurance company for the purpose. The 1.2 million is granted in addition to the insurance.

The mountain peaks in the country have been cultivated with tea. They cannot hold the rainfall. People have settled by the side of the Nilawala river. We need a national policy to prevent them. Rs. 2,280 million will be spent on the houses destroyed in the Kegalle district. We have already spent Rs. 1,185 million to provide reliefs to flood affected people.

The Chinese Government build 100 houses while the Habitat construct 80 houses. 50 houses have been constructed. Some other institutions including the security forces are constructing over 60 houses. The people in 58 divisional secretariats were affected by drought and Rs 240.2 million is spent to provide reliefs to them. The Asian Development Bank has promised to grant us 200 rain gauges, while Japan has promised to give us two doppler radars."






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