Monday, May 23, 2016

Disaster preparedness – What any Government Should have known!

The weather forecasts were available for all to see. The international TV satellites images were available on the net, and the SL weathermen had NO excuse, (Dept. Of Meteorology) saying that they do not have sufficient uptodate equipment to make accurate predictions, as they could AT LEAST have used freely available data. Just give them a half day seminar on accessing info on the net with all the weather satellites at their disposal, and Govt.s willing to share their data. The problem is that the jokers employed do not know these basics, and are challenged in basic English to even want to listen to foreign TV reports. It is possible, that they are hired NOT for their qualifications, but for their ability to pay the asking price for the job in a state institution, brokered by the price for a particular job!

How can two or three days of rain cause so much flooding? God forbid, that when the heavy monsoonal showers arrive, the result will be untold damage, and destruction, and let’s get ready for it now. Better be safe than sorry.

Through time, mass migration into the Western Province, cutting down of Rubber Estates there, to build housing developments that add run-off, schools, factories and shops, have left water with no way of increasing the Groundwater aquifers, and instead and FIND ITS WAY DIRECT TO THE KELANI RIVER BASIN. Plan a series of water holding reservoirs to fill groundwater supplies that are currently being depleted badly, due to this top soil run off, to reduce this pressure.

No wonder then that each year the problem will get worse. This has been further exacerbated by destruction caused by sand mining along the river from upstream, along with forest cutting, that have reduced the height of the riverbanks, so the overflow that naturally occurs with rain, will cause flooding downstream, to spread to land hitherto unaffected. This is a natural phenomenon that has NOT been addressed and rectified, due to short term fixes to political gain, and NOW the politicians are busy filling up FB with their show of solidarity, hiding that they themselves have more to answer for this tragedy!

There are certain areas that flood regularly, like clockwork. The Govt. MUST take steps to move people out of these areas by FORCE if necessary. Should we as a society have compassion for them, if the Govt. has offered alternatives that they have refused to accept?

Then EVERY home within a distance of 2 KM should be given a flood certification, For example they could be given between 1 to 10 with 10 being the most at risk of flooding. They are then on notice, and in time MUST make alternative arrangements in case of need. The number given is very easily calculated depending, on both distance and elevation from the Kelani River itself. This will affect about 150,000 homes and businesses, and they could be asked to vacate immediately depending on the flood stage predicted. Its tough if this affects the value of their home, as it should, in a responsible Country.

This certification is the only alternative to asking all people to vacate their homes permanently, and is the fairest way to warn people and not be too complacent. If a Stage 8 alert is issued, those with 8, 9 and 10 will have to vacate their homes temporarily or face the consequences of their own foolishness. It is possible that the present flood situation only went up to Stage 5, that is 5 through to 10 be on notice of imminent flooding. The monsoon yet to come could go down further to stage 4 and 3 if necessary!

This kind of certification will warn people some 100,000 homes and businesses who don’t think they are in this zone are also in the flood plain! They will then not be able to say they did not know that their home was in danger. This goes to the gravity of the threat of flood, that the Govt. either does not know how to communicate, or do not wish to warn people out of electoral unpopularity. I say it is worth the risk, to put people on notice, as it will also force the Govt. to take steps to reverse this process, with sufficient people knowing that unless they take those steps they will be next in line to GO UNDER!

Of course it goes without saying that Flood Insurance would be affected depending on what number you have on your certificate. Only you will eventually have to face the consequence if you bribe to get a more favorable certification, as you will be found out if you are to make a claim!

Forewarned is forearmed and people MUST learn to make the lifestyle choices, on this basis, or suffer the consequences of complacency. Frankly, this is the ONLY way to get a handle on the potential flooding situation, and not risk and surprises of being NOT READY for it!

To repeat it is only best that people know their danger level, rather be completely in the dark, wondering or be in shock when it does engulf them. I will welcome a better proposal to mine, but I can assure you that none of our pundits in power have even remotely suggested this as a long term solution to a growing problem that with global warming and unpredictable weather scenarios will not get any better in the foreseeable future.

Having said all this, a long term strategy to minimize this risk, and reduce flooding must be taken concurrently, that is done in parallel by legislation, and other practices, with a strong persuasive push from our leaders of its necessity!

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