Residents along the coastal belt suffer from sea erosion

Published : 12:01 am  November 29, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (0) reads | 

Coastal belt from Dehiwala to Ratmalana

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By H.M.Dharmapala, Kusal Chamath and Indika Manoj  

Sea erosion in the coastal belt in Mount Lavinia, Dehiwala and Ratmalana areas has worsened and several houses have been razed to the ground by the trembling waves. Residents of the area said the houses that existed along the beach were no more and that they had been facing this danger every year during the period of rough seas.  


“People living along the southern coastal belt from Dehiwala, Ratmalana area have been facing the threat of sea erosion for several years. Fisher folk are the worst affected by this disaster that has caused much havoc. Hundreds of houses had been destroyed and several more are in danger” They said.   


 A traditional fisherman of Wedikanda in Ratmalana D.A.Jayatunga Perera said the house in front of his was razed down to the ground last year and that he was living in constant fear of a similar danger.  
We were compelled to stay here for want of land to settle. When we are displaced the officials would provide us dry ration without providing a permanent solution to the danger facing us. We have lost our livelihood for want of protection to our boats and fishing gear. Any government has not paid attention on our predicament. The authorities who promised to provide us housing in safer locations when about 70 houses were destroyed by the waves about five years ago and we staged a massive protest demanding relief left us on the lurch. Meanwhile several individuals who were not affected by the Tsunami have received houses in the Tsunami housing scheme in Ratmalana. We complained to the relevant authorities against this injustice but to no avail.”he said.   


A fisherman in Dehiwala Anton Fernando said the beautiful beach that had been a tourist attraction is no more and that the waves were now lashing against the railway line.  


“Hundreds of families have been displaced for the last several years. After the Tsunami disaster the government declared a 100 metre wide stripe of beach as the buffer zone and the people living there as unauthorised settlers. We are not allowed to repair the houses damaged by waves. We experience sea erosion for more than six months of rough seas. Officials who visit the area prepare plans that are never implemented. Last year a team of officials carried out an inspection and promised to lay boulders but we have not yet heard anything from them. We made continual representations to the Ratmalana Coordinating Committee but the issue is yet to be resolved, he said. Meanwhile Ratmalana Divisional Secretary D.A.H.Piyatilleka said sea erosion in the coastal belt from Dehiwala to Ratmalana had been experienced every year, but it worsened this year. He said many of the families living in the endangered area wanted land in towns and they are not prepared to settle in the areas we proposed.   


“However, with the help of civil society organizations we provide relief to the affected families. Funds are not available to implement large housing schemes for them. It was not possible to find land in areas they want. The issues of this nature are not covered by Disaster Management Centre circulars and it is rather difficult to find fund to provide them relief as they expect. I have made a request to include disasters caused by sea erosion within the purview of Disaster Management Centre. I learn that several others who received houses in Tsunami housing put up shanties along the beach again after selling those houses. It is rather difficult to distinguish the deserving individuals from racketeers who use shrewd tactics” he said.

 

 

Any government has not paid attention on our predicament. The  authorities who promised to provide us housing in safer locations when  about 70 houses were destroyed by the waves about five years ago and we  staged a massive protest demanding relief left us on the lurch.

 

 

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CITY-DM-4-10

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