Over Rs. 1.3b compensation for Salawa victims | Sunday Observer

Over Rs. 1.3b compensation for Salawa victims

The Disaster Management Ministry has already provided compensation worth over Rs.1,300 million to the Salawa Armoury explosion victims and there is no basis for allegations that compensation payments are delayed, Disaster Management Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told the Sunday Observer.

“ A problem has arisen with regard to the payment of a sum of Rs. 68 million to a small number of victims since they have gone before the Human Rights Commission. It is a minority that is making an issue about it. Apparently, the majority would have protested if they were not satisfied with the compensation,” the Minister said. We have also provided 98 houses to the Meetotamulla garbage dump affected families. The remaining 200 houses will be ready in July. Until then, we have made a monthly payment of Rs.50,000 for them for their temporary abode.

“Accordingly, we have almost done our part. However, if somebody complains that no steps have been taken to provide relief, that is the issue the media will pick up. Unfortunately, what the Government has already done is not giving enough publicity.

I always tell the media to have a balance report about the incident obtaining the views of all parties. We should not forget that this is a natural calamity,” the Minister said.

Minister Yapa said the people must have confidence in the Government that it will certainly look after them after the disaster. If the media reports that no relief has been provided, then the people will begin to lose confidence.

Asked why couldn’t they warn the public to move into higher ground before the recent floods struck, the Minister said in fact they were warned. Warnings have been sent even through the Police loudspeakers. Some people have adhered to it.

Those who have not taken it seriously suffered the consequences and we are sorry for that.

However, we have to have a forcible evacuation law in the country so that the people will be forced to evacuate during torrential rains. That the people have not been warned, is therefore wrong.

“We are working round the clock and we are improving daily. We have a plan with set targets. Otherwise, how can we house 78,000 displaced people in 371 camps?

What I am asking is not to blame the officials who are working with difficulties.

Unfortunately, we don’t have proper places to relocate the displaced people and evacuation centres. But three evacuation centres are under construction at the moment,” he said.

Asked whether a full assessment of the loss to the economy by recent floods and landslides has been made, the Minister said they have not yet done it and added that the situation is being assessed at the moment. Once it is completed, details can be provided and surely the damage will cost a colossal sum to the Government coffers.

The Minister said according to the recent figures, 209 deaths had been reported, 92 missing and 72 injured.

An islandwide insurance scheme has been launched by the Government effective from last year.

Every person in the country and his household is insured against natural disasters. Rs. 100,000 compensation will be paid if a person dies in a natural disaster.

In case of total damage to a house, the owner will

be paid Rs. 2.5 million as compensation, the Minister said.