16th November 2015 18:01:56 Hours
More than 700 Army troops serving Kilinochchi, Mullaittivu and Wanni districts, rising to the occasion in the face of flood threats, are currently busy providing immediate rescue assistance, cooked meals, help for evacuation and relocation, medical assistance, sanitary and technical facilities, support to District Secretariat’s relief work, etc to nearly 5000 flood-affected people in Palliyaru, Vannikulam, Mandagalaru, Pannagandi, Netahaliyaru areas of the Security Force Headquarters (SFHQ)-Kilinochchi, Muthyakattu area of the SFHQ Mullaittivu and Kokilai, Janakapura, Welioya and Pulmoddai areas of the SFHQ Wanni.
A majority of an estimated crowd of 4200 affected people in above-mentioned areas in Kilinochchi, most of who have now been housed at Umayagapuram Vidyalayam, Kumaranpuran Vidyalayam, Pottuwadu Vidyalayam, Anandakulam Vidyalayam and Sirimurukkandi Vidyalyam with the support received from the Kilinochchi District Secretariat, have been provided basic amenities such as drinking water, soap, mats, pillows, etc. Most of their houses remain submerged in water.
On Saturday (14) , the Army supplied cooked meals to those who wanted as some of those victims had already gone to their relatives for shelter. With the coordination of Mr Arumanayagam, District Secretary for Kilinochchi, those victims are now being provided with dry rations and cooking utensils with the coordination done by more than 300 Army troops of different battalions of the SFHQ-Kilinochchi under the close supervision of Major General Amal Karunasekera, Commander, SFHQ-KLN.
Kilinochchi troops meanwhile put up additional toilets in respective places for the displaced and also made their gully bowsers available for collection of sewage at the request of the District Secretariat which has by Sunday (15) morning undertaken the provision of dry rations to the victims. Troops also assisted some of the victims to receive medical assistance both from Army medical officers and those at the Kilinochchi district hospital.
Meanwhile, troops of the SFHQ-Mullaittivu (MLT) in the past 48 hours responding to the looming flood threats, evacuated many affected and threatened people to be housed in Kallapadu Primary Vidyalayam, Pandarawani church, and Muthiyankattu Vidyalayam (Left Bank). On Saturday (14) night, Army troops distributed 100 dinner packets among the victims, although some of them had by then moved into the houses of their close relatives for shelter.
On the directions of Major General P.U.S Vithanage, Commander, SFHQ-Mullaittivu, more than 300 troops are now engaged in rescue and relief assignments keeping a close vigil as all low coastal areas and causeways have gone under water with fast rising water levels in six major tanks as reported by the SFHQ-MLT. So far a total of 208 displaced people are sheltered in above-named locations and the troops are in constant touch with the Mullaittivu District Secretariat for onward relief operations. Similarly, the Navy troops with their boats are on standby to face any worse scenario with the escalation of torrential rains.
In the meantime, a little more than 100 affected people from Kokilai, Janakapura, Welioya and Pulmodai areas have been accommodated in one school and a church, serviced by the SFHQ-Wanni. Troops supplied about 100 dinner packets on Saturday (14) night and assisted the evacuation as heavy rains were continuing. Major General Boniface Perera, Commander, SFHQ-Wanni, visited affected areas on Saturday and took all precautionary measures. After the Army’s supply of immediate needs, District Secretary for Vavuniya has assured the supply of dry rations to the victims beginning on Sunday until they vacate the premises.
Early Sunday (15) morning, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, Commander of the Army personally spoke to respective Commanders in flood-ravaged areas and received a feedback while giving necessary instructions to them as deemed necessary. Similarly, he requested SFHQ Commanders to provide him with updates all the time with a view to coordinating and facilitating their needs at higher levels.
Meanwhile, quickly responding to an SoS appeal made by the Irrigational Engineer, Mr Anura Konegedara in charge of Maha Horiwila Tank in Kalaththewa of the Security Force Headquarters-Wanni area, south of Anuradhapura on Saturday (14) late evening, a group of 51 soldiers under training at the Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) Training School in Kalaththewa rushed to the Maha Horiwila tank spill gates area under threat from spilling water levels and averted an imminent disaster by using sandbags, etc.
Authorities in the Irrigation Department in the area have been alerted to this possible piercing in the tank bund due to torrential rains by the farmers and villagers who feared a catastrophic outcome in the event a portion of the bund near the spill gates would burst as the water levels were fast increasing by 6.00 p.m. on Saturday (14).
Mr Anura Konegedara accordingly got in touch with the Commandant at this Army School and appealed for help as the bund could be burst unless immediate renovation steps were taken with the support of the villagers although dusk was falling fast.
However, the Commandant alerted all the trainees in the School and rushed to the scene with 50 soldiers within minutes, prepared as many sandbags as possible and placed them around the affected area on the bund, thus averting a major disaster.