Continuing torrential rains, spilling of rivers, tanks and reservoirs and pervading flood threats in the East, North Central Province, North Western Province and elsewhere have disrupted normalcy and brought life to standstill prompting hundreds of Army personnel to rise to the catastrophic emergency and attend to urgent rescue and relief operations in respective areas.
In a dramatic move, 7 Field Engineer Regiment troops in Minneriya rose to the occasion this morning (21) and rescued more than 54 people who remained trapped inside a Batticaloa - Colombo private bus when it was washed away after it skidded off the flooded road near the road patch between Manampitiya and Gallella. Soldiers used an excavator to take the bus out of the flooded area with the support of passengers and civilians and brought the bus back on to the main road.
In the same way, 7 Field Engineer Regiment troops in the same above areas rescued 10 people who remained stranded and trapped inside 4 garbage dump trucks after using a boat. Troops also have deployed a boat service between Gallella and Manampitiya for the benefit of civilians linking both Kaduruweala town and Batticaloa junction. Both operations were carried out on the instructions of Major General H.R.N Fenando, Commander, Security Forces - East.
Meanwhile, the troops under the 232 Brigade in liaison with the Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force rescued 35 stranded people in Pankunaweli area. All of them remained inside their own houses under flood waters and troops immediately carried them away to safer locations using boats and helicopters.
In the meantime, 65 females, 48 males and 86 Children, belonging to 46 families in the general area of Aruvuw Siththandi were relocated to Wandaramullei Central College by the Army troops after rescuing them from floods while they remained stranded inside their own homes. 10 GR battalion troops of the 231 Brigade under the 23 Division conducted those rescue and relief operations.
Similarly, 12 SLNG battalion troops under the 232 Brigade serving the general area Koralepattu South, 209 S Keeraveli GN Division evacuated flood victims. Civilians in flood-affected Keeraveli to Pulipunchikal road were given hot meals by the Army and the Army rescued people from Lavani-Aru spilling and the Eluppiti road too.
513 families including 1398 members were evacuated and accommodated at Lahugala Divisional Secretary's Office, Kandahida. Kandahidagama Temple and Hulannuge Vidyalaya.
16 Sri Lanka National Guard (SLNG) troops in the 24 Division in co-operation with the Mahaoya Divisional Secretariat, Irrigation Department and civilians averted a big catastrophe by immediately patching up a split on the Mahasiyambalakandiya Tank in the general area of Mahaoya using sand bags.
Meanwhile, all the tanks in Anuradhapura District have reached spilling levels in the past 24 hours with rains escalating. The spill gates of Kala Wewa and Rajanganaya in 21 Division area were opened due to this extreme weather condition and officials in the DMC advised residents living in low line areas, close to the tanks to be vigilant of any possible floods.
The Commander Security Forces - Wanni Major General Rohitha Dharmasiri visited Kalawewa areas on 20 December 2019 to inspect whether it would cause any disastrous situation or necessitate the involvement of the troops of the Security Forces-Wanni in assisting the public.