Drought hits Ampara district yet again | Daily News


Drought hits Ampara district yet again

Over 70,000 affected
Senanayake Samudra.
Senanayake Samudra.

The prevailing drought in the Ampara district is said to be the worst ever that the district has experienced in recent times.

Both cultivators and cattle and dairy farmers are severely affected, while the public is faced with a drinking water problem, as there has been no rain in the region for the last three months.

According to the statistics of the district’s Disaster Management Centre, all 112 grama niladhari divisions in the 12 Divisional Secretariat divisions in the district are affected by the drought.

Thirukkovil, Pottuvil, Maha Oya and Pathiyathalawa are the worst affected areas.

At present, 70,012 persons in 11,556 families have been the affected by the drought in the Ampara district and they find it difficult to even obtain drinking water. Domestic wells, rivers and ponds have gone dry. As a result, villagers have been compelled to trek long distances to obtain drinking water. In some areas, the villagers have to trek for more than four or five miles in the searing heat to obtain drinking water.

Ampara Kachchceri DMC Assistant Director Mohamed Riyas said that 22 bowsers supply water to these areas right now. Further, Government Agent D.M.L. Bandaranayake has given instructions to all Divisional Secretaries in the district to ensure adequate drinking water supply to the people and he has said he would provide the necessary bowsers.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Department says that an extent of 47,300 hectares were brought under paddy cultivation during the Yala season and at present, a large extent of paddy crops are on the verge of dying. Deputy Director Agriculture (Extensions) M.F.A. Zameer said he had received reports from his Agricultural officers that paddy crops cultivated in 1,661 hectares are dying, while another 700 hectares are reported to have been completely destroyed.

According to the latest report of the Irrigation Department, Senanayake Samudra, the capacity of which is 770,000 acre feet and which irrigates paddy cultivations in the district, has drastically dropped to 37,660 acre feet. This is said to be lowest-ever level experienced in the district in recent times. The water level of Senanayake Samudra which is 110 ft has now dropped to 36 ft and if the drought continues, this will further drop, an Irrigation Department official said. 

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