Eight months’ drought hits over 782,000 in North and East | Daily News
No drinking water for 200,000
North Prov. prepares for water supply by train

Eight months’ drought hits over 782,000 in North and East

Even as the Meteorological Department warned yesterday of more heavy rain and possible floods in southern parts of the island, the Disaster Management Centre drew attention to the continuing months-long drought prevailing in much of the North and north-central and eastern regions severely affecting an estimated 782,000 people. The DMC told the Daily News that despite heavy rains, winds and floods being experienced in different parts of the island, 18 districts in eight provinces are reported to be stricken by severe drought for the past eight months.

Northern Province Governor Suren Raghavan told the Daily News that his province was the severely affected by the shortage of water and that the provincial administration had already put in place various programmes to meet water shortages, especially that of drinking water.

According to DMC data, nearly 782, 000 individuals belonging to 229, 459 families in the Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Batticoloa, Ampara, Trincomalee, Ratnapura, Puttalam, Kurunegala, Matale, Kandy, Hambantota, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Monaragala and Badulla districts have been affected by the droughts.

The Northern Province is the worst-affected and the number of affected is reported as 245, 890 belonging to 73, 091 families. The DMC estimates that currently 76, 673 individuals are affected in Jaffna District, 63,115 in Mannar, 42,370 in Kilinochchi, 61,154 in Mullaithivu and 2,578 in Vavuniya.

In the Eastern Province, 166,119 individuals of 50,328 families have been affected of which 86,635 individuals of 26,078 families are in the Batticoloa District alone.

Though the drought situation has affected over 700, 000 people, no deaths or property losses have been reported so far, the DMC said. DMC Deputy Director (Early Warning) Pradeep Koddipili told the Daily news that the prevailing drought situation in those areas is expected to change with the activation of the North-East Monsoon in the country by the next month. The affected areas will receive enough rainwater with the beginning of the monsoon, he said.

Commenting on the present situation, Kodippili said the DMC has deployed nearly 600 bowsers to provide drought affected families with drinking water in various areas. Of the affected 782, 000 nearly 200, 000 are without access to drinking water, he said.

Northern Province Governor Dr. Suren Raghavan told the Daily News that “every possible step” is being taken to supply the people in the province with drinking water.

Over 450 bowsers have already been deployed to distribute drinking water within the Province’s five districts; he said adding that the armed forces personnel were involved in supporting the endeavor.

According to Raghavan, the rains are expected in the province within the next three weeks. If rains were late, the provincial administration has already planned to transport water by means of the train to Jaffna and Kankesanturai from the South. The train will be the easiest and the most suitable way, he pointed out. Crop cultivation in the province has not been severely affected due to the drought as the farmers have finished reaping paddy harvest and only other cultivations, which need a little amount of water remain, the Governor also said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Meteorology warned that the prevailing showery condition over parts of the island is expected to continue during the next few days.

“The public are requested to take adequate precautions “to minimize damage caused by temporary localized strong winds and lightning,” a Met. Department communique said..

Temporarily strong gusty winds (up to 70-80 kmph) and very rough seas can be expected during thundershowers,” the department further said.


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