Sunday, June 16, 2024

Inclement weather, death toll rises to 32

by malinga
June 9, 2024 1:17 am 0 comment 518 views

Over 239,000 affected; 5,587 houses damaged:
Most deaths due to careless behaviour:

The death toll due to the inclement weather in most parts of the country has risen to 32 and another 20 persons injured while one person remains missing and presumed dead, Director General of the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) Pradeep Kodippili said.

Director General of the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) Pradeep Kodippili

Director General of the Disaster Management Centre (DMC)
Pradeep Kodippili

In the most recent death, a 17-year-old boy drowned while frolicking in flood waters along with a group of friends at Atavaramulla, Baddegama on Wednesday last week, he said.

He said the victim was floating on an inflated rubber tube on a swollen river when a sudden flash flood threw him of the tube into the swirling waters and he was washed away downstream and later drowned.

The limp body of the youth was found several hours later by Navy lifeguards and divers and was pronounced dead on admission to a regional Government hospital.

Most of the deaths during the floods are due to careless bathing, attempting to cross submerged roads and unsafe boating practices, Kodipilli said.

Twenty-four people lost their lives due to trees or soil collapsing on them, drowning and being swept away by flood waters, he said. One hundred and eighteen boats were used by the Sri Lanka Army to rescue those affected, while the Sri Lanka Navy had deployed 31. Kodippili called upon people to refrain from visiting flood-affected areas or stepping into flood waters.

He said that the authorities have repeatedly warned people against wading into flood waters for whatever reason due to the high risk of accidents. Flood waters can be extremely dangerous, unpredictable, and could cause severe injuries or even fatalities as was in the recent case in Baddegama.

He said that 239,006 persons from 63,413 families have also been affected by the prevailing adverse weather across the island while 5,587 houses have been partly damaged with 56 destroyed.

Essentials relief items

Around 7,639 displaced persons have been moved to 1,973 relief centres set up across the island where they have been provided with essentials items such as food, medicine and safe drinking water by regional Government officials.

The Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Palitha Mahipala called for public vigilance on the heightened risk of infectious diseases that could spread rapidly following the floods and urged people to avoid unnecessary visits to affected areas.

The Director of the National Dengue Control Unit Dr. Sudath Samaraweera said that the floods could also escalate the dengue outbreak to an epidemic level.

He said that dengue disease extends beyond mere health implications, posing significant economic and social challenges and underscored that the Ministry of Health alone cannot effectively control the spread of dengue and that it requires full public support.

Water levels

From the start of this year, to date, over 25,000 dengue cases and nine related deaths have also been reported, Dr. Samaraweera said.

The Irrigation Department has extended the early flood warning issued for areas along the Gin River and Nilwala River, for the next 48 hours as well.

However, it said the water levels at the Kelani River have normalised while the water level of the Kalu River was gradually decreasing.

For its part, the Government has decided to provide Rs. 10,000 each for families affected by the floods to clean their houses, State Minister of Defence, Premitha Bandara Tennakoon said.

The Government has allocated around Rs. 150 million for this purpose, and the funds will be provided to the District Secretaries, he said.

He also directed the officials to closely monitor the distribution of these funds to the affected persons and to ensure the monies are used for the exact purpose.

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