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    Drought expected; Use power and water carefully – Disaster Minister Featured

    January 13, 2017

    There will be a lack of rain fall leading to a severe a drought during the coming three months and the public is asked to use water and electricity carefully, said Minister of Disaster Management Anura Priyadarshana Yapa.


    He was addressing a press conference today (13th Jan.) at the Department of Government Information.


    According to the minister, the country has not received the expected rain fall last year and the heavy rains received in May and November were not enough to fulfill the whole water requirement of the year. A three month rainless season can be expected and rains are expected end of March, he added.


    At present, the major reservoirs have only 27 percent of water while medium scale reservoirs have less than 30 percent. As well, the paddy cultivation of this season is only about 1/3 and it will affect the coming Yala season. The rice production in the major producing areas has also fallen less than 35 percent.


    Considering the situation, the government officials have already been deployed to 13 districts namely Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Puttlam, Trincomalee, Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Jaffna, Batticoloa, Mulativu, Hambantota, and Monaragala to discuss with the relevant district officials and more officials will be deployed to other districts during next week. They will take updates of the prevailing situation of those districts and the ministry would release money to provide relief if necessary, the minister said.


    Minister Yapa also said that they had taken action to supply water through bowsers where necessary. About 1,754 water tanks have been requested by all the districts and they will be provided following the due tender process. Meanwhile, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board will also repair the hand pumps which are not working. He said that, they have also discussed with the UN Development Fund and the UN Food Program in this regard.


    According to the minister, President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the appointed Cabinet Sub Committee to submit a report regarding the prevailing situation. Accordingly, a number of ministries including Water Supply, Irrigation, Agriculture, Social Welfare, and Power and Renewable Energy had submitted the report to the Cabinet of Ministers. A special meeting in this regard will also be held this evening under the patronage of President Sirisena.


    Joining the minister, the Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Karunarathne Paranawithana added that the government has decided not to release water in reservoirs in several areas for cultivation purposes as they should be protected for consumption.


    A 24*7 Disaster Information Center to provide updates to the media has been established at the Department of Government Information. This can be contacted through 011-2 5835111 and 071- 4413453.

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