Floods and Drought puts year round pressure on Sri Lankan northerners lives!

The people living in the Northern Province after civil war was brought to finish in 2009 began rebuilding their tattered life and to make ends meet many ventured into self-served economic activities. Much of the economic development taking place in the province after 2009 benefited a small percentage of the population fuelled by funds received from non-government agencies, rapid development of banking sector or remitted by relatives living overseas. Whereas these means of investment in both agriculture and industry cannot provide a long-term alternative to developing production for the local or export markets. Further there are many families still living in poverty without a regular income. These developmental anomalies varied from district to district in the province, aggravated by the lack of effective governmental policies that zig-zagged all over in the decade to 2019, to push the economic growth rate of the province to the bottom of the national table.

In this scenario, travelling along A9 Highway to Jaffna during the present unsettled weather one could witness firsthand the devastation caused by the heavy rains that poured over in the province. The continuing inclement weather has badly affected the routine life of the people in the five districts with their share of floods from rain after months of drought during the dry season.

Due to the present flood situation in all five districts of Northern Province, more than 90,000 people from 28,806 families have been affected, with 8,905 people from 2,842 families housed in Transit Camps. The most affected is the Kilinochchi District with 50,288 people affected and one each from Jaffna and Kilimochchiu Districts had lost their lives.

With the inclement weather prevailing in Kilinochchi and Mulaitheevu districts, rains continued to pour and the water incoming into Iranaimadhu Tank, increased its water level to 35’11” and 9 sluice gates had to be opened by last Wednesday to keep the level under control and people living in the low level areas of the Kandawalai Divisional Secretary’s area warned to be vigilant.

This is a case of water everywhere, but not a drop to drink a total reverse to the drought during the dry season. The Disaster Management Authorities and the security forces are doing a good job considering the plight people are facing. But lot more could have been done by the authorities prior to the rainy season to minimize such disasters, for lot more could have been to control the runoff from such large facilities as the Iranaimadhu Tank. If the authorities had managed it properly, could have also overcome considerably the drought season water shortage problems faced by the people in the area. For poor construction and lack of proper maintenance has reduced the water holding capacity considerably, in spite of incurring heavy expenditure by both governments past decade to repair the bunds and raise it to increase the storage capacity after the war was brought to finish 2009.

These weather related incidents comes after months of severe drought faced by the people in the province; made matters worse for the people with renewed breakdown of their communal life from which these people were earlier recovering slowly following the end of the three-decades-long civil conflict.

Read also an article titled “Tourism, the Northern Province Game Changer” by Jekhan Aruliah @ https://www.lankabusinessonline.com/tourism-the-northern-province-game-changer/