Floods; Where We Went Wrong- Part 3
From the warning issued on the 14th of May when the depression first caught our attention all the way to the end of the month the country witnessed the force with which floods and landslides wreaked havoc across the island.
Discussing the floods especially in the western province, Dr. Pradeep proposed a four step plan to reducing the magnitude of damage to lives and property should there be an increase in the intensity of rain.
As discussed over previous posts, the flood plains along all major rivers in the country have been converted into highly residential and commercial areas. The Kelani bridge for example sees a whole community that camps out on the bridge twice a year when the seasonal rains hit the country and the river level rises up. Hotels and resorts, factories and warehouses in large numbers range along the banks and flood plains of the river network in the island. The first step would be their relocation. A plan to provide safe and adequate housing to those living in the slum areas and provide alternate locations for those living in flood prone areas, would be the first most imperative step to be taken should we wish to mitigate the destruction we saw through the past month.
The second step would be to prevent further encroachment on rivers, and to reverse the process and claim back the space that was part of the original river bed. We have been filling in the rivers attempting t increase the area of land owned and the result has caused the rivers levels to rise unpredictably and quickly. Step need to be taken to allow the rivers to reclaim their natural path of flow to accommodate fluctuations in the river levels.
Continuing in bringing to you, an account of where we went wrong; for the rain that is the harbinger of life, to instead cause such devastation; next week we continue the journey with Dr Pradeep and take a look at the next two steps in mitigating the flood damage in his four step proposal.
Read next: Floods; Where We Went Wrong- Part 4
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