No let-up in monsoon mayhem

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By Jayani Madawala 

The Meteorological Department predicts that the current monsoon will likely continue for a few more days.

Most areas witnessed rainfall over the week, causing severe damage, especially in the south.

The Department of Meteorology said Uva, Central, and Eastern provinces experienced heavy showers, with rainfall totals topping 75 millimetres. Fairly heavy showers, exceeding 75 mm, are forecast in the Uva, Central, and Eastern provinces. In the coastal areas of the Western and Southern provinces, a few morning showers are expected.

Akuressa. Pic by Priyantha Dasanayake

The National Building Research Organisation issued landslide warnings to seven districts: Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kegalle, Ratnapura, and Badulla.

Matara District Disaster Management Centre Unit Chief Lt. Col. K.A. Ariyawansa said Malimbada and Thihagoda were still inundated.

The floods were easing, he said. Akuressa, Athuraliya, Kamburupitiya, Malimbada, Thihagoda, and Matara divisional secretariat divisions had been flooded for more than two weeks.

So far, 35 boats have been deployed, along with other vehicles, he said.

The Matara District Disaster Management Unit requested the parents of Grade Five scholarship exam candidates as well as invigilators to report to the examination centres early.

Devon falls. pic by Sudath H. M. Hewa

One examination centre at Karagoda in Uyangoda has been shifted to Narandeniya National School.

Irrigation (Hydrology & Disaster Management) Director S.P.C. Sugeeshwara said low-lying areas of the Nilwala River, Akuressa, Malimbada, Matara, Thihagoda, and Kamburupitiya divisional secretariat areas will experience minor flooding.

Bope, Poddala, Nagoda, and Baddegama are prone to flooding.

Low-lying areas around the Polgolla reservoir were inundated, and three sluice gates were opened. The engineer’s office has stated that 5,000 cubic feet of water per second was released to lower Victoria Reservoir.

With the intermonsoon period, higher rainfall is expected, and residents are requested to be on alert in Kandy, Puttalam, Galle, and Colombo. They may experience instant flooding with the rainfall; as such, situations are unpredictable,” he added.

Flood relief operations are underway in Matara District, the army spokesman, General Ravi Herath, said. A temporary kitchen is preparing cooked meals for those in temporary shelters. The 9th battalion of the Sinha Regiment and the 3rd volunteer battalion of the Gemunu Watch are also involved.

Southern Highway being cleared up after the landslide in Pinnaduwa. Pic by Sarath Siriwardena

In addition, the road from Colombo to Hambantota on the landslide-hit stretch of the Southern Motorway has now been cleared for traffic.

On Wednesday night (Oct. 11), an earth slip was reported near the 102 km post between Pinnaduwa and Imaduwa interchanges following heavy showers. The landslide occurred in two instances, injuring a police sergeant and six STF officers.

Meanwhile, the Badulla-Colombo road is impassable at Madola in Opanayaka due to an earthslip.