|Friday, 6 June 2003|
by Nadira Gunatilleke
Preliminary investigations are now being conducted by 21 expert groups at 260 sites on possible landslide threats.
The respective district secretariats and divisional secretariats have already taken precautions. People living in `high risk' sites will be immediately evacuated to safer areas, acting Head of the Landslides studies and Services Division, National Building Research Organisation (NBRO), R.M.S.Bandara said.
Bandara said that there are less than 260 sites with such threats because sometimes the same location has more than one name. Therefore the number of sites with possible landslide threats is fewer than 260. In the first phase the scientists hope to identify `high risk zones', `medium risk sites' and `low risk sites'. Arrangements will be made to evacuate people from the high risk sites immediately.
Immediate steps and long-term strategies will be used to minimise the damage caused by possible landslides. Those evacuated from the high risk zones will be given safe lands. These new lands will be examined for possible landslide threats before being handed over. The lands identified as possible earthslip locations will be marked as `prohibited areas' for human habitation, he added.
When examining the previous records of landslides it is evident that most of the landslides had occurred in the western slope of the country during May, June and July each year. The Eastern slope experienced fewer landslides and the time duration was December and January.
Possible landslides can be expected if an area receives more than 100 millimetres of rain within 24 hours. Last month the areas destroyed by landslides experienced about 354.2 millimetres of rain.
Meanwhile Social Welfare Ministry Secretary Ms. Viji Jegarasasingam said that arrangements will be made soon to acquire proper safe lands from Matara and Hambantota districts for the distribution among the families who lost their lands in recent landslides.
Produced by Lake House