Tsunami-prone zone declared by Govt. becomes ineffective

Published : 12:06 am  December 27, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 

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  • Many of these families stated that they were unable to engage in their livelihoods, mainly fishing
  • Sources stated that many families had been provided with houses by the NGO’s and other civil organisations after the tsunami

 

By H.M Dharmapala and Kusal Chamath   

Government regulations halting all constructions, 100 metres from the coast line in the tsunami-prone  areas has been ineffective as families have settled in the buffer zone once again after 
14 years. 

 
The law set into motion soon after the tsunami on December 26, 2004 cleared a 100- metre- strip from the coast line of all construction, with the government taking additional steps to direct relevant institutions and Local Government authorities to ensure the area remained clear.  


However, many families affected by the tsunami have returned to their original place of dwelling driven mostly by economical needs. Sources stated that many families had been provided with houses by the NGO’s and other civil organisations after the tsunami, but had sold them only to return again to their homes on the coastline.

   
Many of these families stated that they were unable to engage in their livelihoods, mainly fishing, from the remote housing schemes they were provided with after the tsunami. “We had to travel long distances to engage in our work and it is not practical,” many said.   


The mass exodus, even though gradual, of resident back to the coast line and the sale of the houses received as aid also had the unforeseen repercussion of the government now being unable to differentiate between actual victims of the tsunami and those who have shifted to the area after.   


Sources said there were some families in the Dehiwela, Mount Lavinia and Ratmalana areas who were affected by the tsunami but were yet to receive any aid. “There are lands and houses that have been abandoned by the owners as they were unable to complete or begin reconstructing their homes that were damaged by the tsunami,” it is said.  


Residents also said that while some victims still lived with their relatives after the tsunami, those who received homes were in remote areas as many of these housing schemes were situated in far away areas.   


“Many of the land that was abandoned after the buffer zone came in to affect are filled with people now, as many people have made temporary illegal constructions on them. These areas are not safe, even the boulders and granite stones the government puts along the coast line to slow down erosion are of no use. The coastline is just 10- 25 feet from the rocks and it seems like the railway lines that run parallel to the coast will soon be underwater too,” residents said.     

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