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Defence Secretary assured fresh hopes for Ayagama folks under landslide threat

December 17, 2020

     •    A total of 147 locations in SL to be mitigated for disaster risk under a USD 110 million project
     •    Ayagama project to be completed within 365 days

Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne who arrived at the Ayagama landslide prone area assured the mitigation of landslide hazards for folks under landslide threat while inaugurating a Rs. 418 million worth project mooted to mitigate the landslide risk today (Dec 17).

Further, another Rs. 442 million worth project in Galaboda, Ratnapura covering 12 kilometres along the Wewelwatte Road was also inaugurated during the visit.

The Defence Secretary accompanied by Ratnapura District Secretary Malini Lokupothagama, Director General of Disaster Management Centre Maj. Gen. (Retd) Sudantha Ranasinghe, Director General of National Building Research Organization (NBRO) Dr. Asiri Karunawardena, Divisional Secretary (Ayagama) Neranjan Jayakodi and other relevant state officials inspected both vulnerable areas.

Maj. Gen. Gunaratne, in his capacity as the National Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management State Ministry Secretary, gave necessary instructions to the officers to complete two projects during the site visit.

The Ayagama slope failure in 2017 had detached the Ayagama town into two, making life difficult for the regional community.

The people in Ayagama, a minor town situated nearly 106 kilometres southeast of Sri Lanka's capital, following early warnings of mudslide were evacuated while housing them at the Ayagama Sri Gangaramaya Temple.

A large chunk of soil and rock pieces had collapsed while spreading debris onto the road and the devastation had also obstructed its passage for commuters during the period of hazard (May 2017), recalled NBRO Director General Dr. Karunawardena while addressing a gathering during the session.

The NBRO Project Director, RMS Bandara, while illustrating its objectives said, “This would reduce the risk and damage from landslides through implementation of mitigation measures and enhancement of policy and regulation associated with landslide risk management”.

A considerable amount of annual rainfall from the Southwest Monsoon, which impacts Ayagama located in the Ratnapura District, makes it susceptible to landslides.

Landslides and slope failures are taking place in the central highlands, resulting in fatalities and damages to infrastructure and the country’s environment.

This is an imperative project, as it would benefit the regional populace while allowing them to contribute to the national economy by transporting their numerous regional productions to the capital city.

Soil nailing, horizontal drains, gabion wall, cascade drain, cross drain, catch pit, compacted filling and turf, netting and removal of debris are also included in this mammoth task, Project Director Bandara said while illustrating the process to the residents.

Meanwhile, the Galaboda project also includes soil nailing, horizontal drains, cut off drain, cascading drain, cross drain, catch pit, reshaping turf and debris removal, the Project Director further explained.

According to Bandara, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has funded and the Government of Sri Lanka has implemented the entire project.

Projects were inaugurated amidst the religious observances and blessings of Ven. Maha Sanga.

Ven. Rambukpotha Dammadinna thero, Police officers, NBRO staffers, Road Development Authority officials, officers of the Disaster Management Centre, regional state officials and residents were also present at the project inaugurating ceremonies.