Floods; Where We Went Wrong- Part 1

  • by Editor
  • 1 year ago
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At the recently held Megapolis summit a topic that attracted much attention was the floods the country was facing.  

For nearly the past three decades, Sri Lanka has not faced floods that wreaked the havoc the country underwent this month. Floods in Sri Lanka are the most commonly occurring natural disaster that we face every year; but the past few weeks saw over 200,000 displaced, vast property destruction and the question in everyone’s mind… what could we have done to prevent this?

Colombo developed exponentially since 1972; albeit an unplanned development that even today conforms to the municipal ordinances created then, which are yet to be updated. We spoke to Dr Laksiri Pradeep Thanthrige, lecturer at the Civil Engineering Department of the Open University, in regard to how we can move forward, and prevent or at least minimize the damage and displacement in the years to come.

Dr. Pradeep shared various thoughts, and one that struck a chord with us was a very simple fact; the population of the western province. Currently at 6 million, the projected estimate within the next 10 years shows it rising to at least 9 million, all living within the 300 km2 land area of the province.

Dr. Pradeep went on to suggest a 4 pronged plan to mitigate flood damage to both persons and property. Relocation, reverse encroachment, monitoring of chemical disposal and vertical construction. Over the next few weeks we will delve into, how the floods occurred, what caused it to get out of hand and how we can rethink development. We bring to you an account of where we went wrong; for the rain that is the harbinger of life, to instead cause such devastation.

Read next: Floods; Where We Went Wrong- Part 2