By M.S.Shah Jahan
As you all know the East and the North Central province of Sri Lanka are under flood catastrophe. Over a million people of all races are engulfed by water for the last three days and unreachable to supply of basic items.
Some fainted want of food. Few died. It is a heart rendering scene worse than that of Brisbane needing urgent assistance in all forms and from all quarters to save those stranded in or surrounded by water.
As per the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) on the 13th ; more than 1,066,000 affected. At least 36 persons have been injured and 21 were killed. A total of 2468 houses have been damaged and 14,953 houses partially damaged.
The authorities have also set up 534 IDP camps in all districts to accommodate, provide dry rations and medical assistance to 72,041 flood victims. An amount of Rs.138 million was spent by the government as relief measures, the DMC said. Certainly this is an insufficient amount.
The government said the current disaster situation is second only to the 2004 Tsunami. In a way we may say it is worse than the Tsunami. Though the Tsunami took away 35,000 lives, it lasted for a day only. Here the rain was nonstop for a week, going severe on Sunday.
On Sunday the 12th , the district of Batticaloa received 342 millimeter of rain surpassing the one with 312 millimeters on January 10th of 1913, 98 years ago. The hardship of the people is indescribable and I leave it to your imagination.
Besides a daily paper reported on her web with pictures that the body of a three-year-old baby elephant that was washed away in the recent floods and got stuck on a 15 ft tree for three days was found in Habarana. The water level in the area was estimated to be 18 ft high.
On the other hand, the rain god was not kind to the Central province even. An earth slip in Rajasinha Mawatha, Kandy killed seven estate workers and injured many. The rest of Up Country is also affected by rain, earth slip, mini cyclone etc. In many places tin roofs of estate houses were flown and trees fell on some houses crushing them and injuring the residents.
A pathetic case is where an estate worker committed suicide being reprimanded by his son for not going to work due to inclement weather.
In the mean time, the cold weather situation, a rare phenomenon, that prevails throughout the country is said to continue and the Met Department advised the public to take precautions to save themselves from infections and illness as they expect unusual high rainfall for the next few months.
Surprisingly the temperature of Colombo dropped to 18.8 Celsius and Nuwara Eliya and Batticaloa went down to 7.9 and 16.9 Celsius respectively.
A Washington based Sri Lankan female journalist of majority community who is touring the Northern Sri Lanka wrote in twitter on Thursday “temperature in Sri Lanka drops to 18.8C after 61 yrs. Cold in Jaffna too, sweater needed at night”.
On the whole travails of Lanka, sorry, Sri Lanka cannot be put in words. Seeing is believing. I reemphasize this is the time the country needs help from all sources.
Though the government has so far not open her mouth for international help, [for the reasons known to you] it is the Asian countries that are rushing in with relief materials led by India whose first consignment of twenty-five tons of relief materials of food, drinking water, sleeping mats, blankets, bed sheets, ready-to-eat meals, sugar, pulses, milk powder, baby milk formula, salt and other essential seasoning powders and water purifying tablets are expected to arrive on Friday by Indian Air Force aircraft IL76 in two sorties, with the second scheduled to arrive on January 17.
Minister of Justice, a Muslim, has appealed to the Middle Eastern countries that have promised help. Besides this is the time for the SL Diaspora and the well wishers to go to the Western Union immediately to show their kindness to "Sri Lanka Maatha" or “Elangai Thaaye”, forgetting the bitter memories and tussles.
The all Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama, a body of Muslim religious scholars appealed to all good hearted people to donate money through their own sources to the needy and those who wish to channel through them can remit to ;
ALL CEYLON JAMIYYATHUL ULAMA, A/C No.1320006768, COMMERCIAL BANK, MARADANA.