“We are prepared for any disaster” | Daily News

“We are prepared for any disaster”

Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara with high-ranking tri forces and police officers, at the distribution ceremony. Picture by Kelum Liyanage
Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara with high-ranking tri forces and police officers, at the distribution ceremony. Picture by Kelum Liyanage

A stock of equipment required for emergency response in any disaster situation worth Rs. 350 million was distributed at a ceremony held at the Disaster Management Ministry under the patronage of Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara yesterday.

Among the items presented by the Ministry to tri forces personnel and the Disaster Management Centre were rubber dinghies, canoes, water pumps, electric saws, life jackets and other equipment.

Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said, “Sri Lanka too is affected by climate change and the temperatures have risen by around 3-4 degrees Celsius. Therefore we have to be prepared to face any disaster.”

Minister Maddumabandara was the chief guest at the ceremony.

“Today due to the drought, the people in several districts have been affected. We have granted the provisions to the District Secretaries for them to provide drinking water to the affected people,” he said.

“There are two types of disasters, natural disasters and manmade disasters. However, we have provided facilities and are prepared to face any kind of disaster. In 2017, there were around 100 forest fires that were reported. But this number dropped in 2018. However, unfortunately there has been a steep rise in forest fires in 2019 and during the first three months alone, around 50 forest fires were reported. Due to these forest fires around 29 percent of the forests in the country have been destroyed.

This invariably leads to the drying up of the water table. It also increases the heat, as there is no forest cover. Due to this situation, we will now have to establish firefighting units throughout the country. Earlier, fire-fighting units were only established in Colombo and the main cities,” the Minister said.

He noted that around 800 deaths are reported each year due to drowning. “Hence, the boats will not only come in handy during floods, but will also be useful in saving the lives of people during such incidents. With today’s weather conditions, disasters are more frequent and intense.

Therefore, it is important to strengthen the Met Department. Hence, under JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) funds, the government has taken measures to provide modern equipment to the Met Department.”


 

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