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Published on - 1/4/2005

Ampara Farmers &; Lands Worst Affected

AMPARA district, one of the fertile agricultural regions in the east of Sri Lanka, was the worst affected of all districts, following the Sunday morning catastrophe that claimed over 12,848 lives of Sri Lankans and some foreigners.

Confirmed reports as of Tuesday (28 December 2004) put the death toll in AMPARA district at 5768, a figure that excludes six Special Task Force personnel in the same district who also perished in the disaster while on duty.

An estimated total of 105,560 people, most of who are farming folks have been forced to seek temporary shelter inside hundreds of schools, temples and all public and private buildings after they were displaced. Women, children and infants were the most badly affected out of those refugees since they had to flee their dwellings leaving behind everything other than what they were wearing.

Six hundred and twenty eight injured civilians in the district are now lying at state hospitals after they were carried away by raging waves causing serious injuries to them. Condition of nearly 100 of them has grown worse after admission forcing health authorities to transfer them to peripheral base hospitals equipped with life-saving apparatus and units.

At the time of this story was compiled, a total of 16,620 houses in Ampara district were either totally or partly destroyed with no access to power, water or any other essentials, though relevant authorities were busy at repairing and restoring. Almost all of their personal belongings such as radios, televisions, valuables, furniture, cooking utensils, clothes, etc have swayed into gushing waters after horrifying moments of shock gripped them.

Hundreds of troops with fast increasing reinforcements took control of chaotic developments amidst floating decomposed bodies despite constraints faced by them as dusk fell on Tuesday (28). Assisting civil authorities and the Police, troops went on supplying cooked meals to those stranded in various places after setting up several coordinating points for relief work. Large areas of age-old paddy-fields and farming lands, submerged in water had been completely destroyed after salty water infected crops and made them rotten.