An Echelon Media Company
Sunday December 3rd, 2023

Adverse weather in Sri Lanka takes 22 lives; climate change disrupting weather patterns?

Sinharaja forest/Rainforest Protectors Trust

ECONOMYNEXT – The death toll of prevailing adverse weather conditions in Sri Lanka has increased to 22, with over 62,000 people affected in various ways, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said as at least one official blamed drastic changes in weather patterns on man-made climate change.

According to DMC Director General Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, 13 had drowned and six were struck by lightning.

Ranasinghe told reporters on Wednesday (10) that a majority of the drowning incidents were the result of carelessness on the part of the victims.

“Most of these deaths were preventable, but these people attempted dangerous feats knowing that the water pressure was high,” he said.

There have also been reports of people who had gone missing after wandering into forests, said Ranasinghe.

“Such actions, knowing full well the prevailing disaster situation, have put their lives as well as the lives of the search parties in danger,” he said, warning that legal action will be taken against groups who travel to areas deemed dangerous under the current weather conditions.

According to the DMC, the Kegalle, Kurunegala, Jaffna and Kandy districts have recorded rainfall exceeding 100 millimetres during the last 24-hour period.

Director General of Department of Meteorology Athula Karunanayaka said prevailing weather is expected to continue for the next 48 hours.

Karunanayaka said low pressure area in the south-east Bay of Bengal thatwas indirectly responsible for the heavy rainfalls in the country is now moving towards the southern part of India.

“After November 13, we will experience the inter monsoon season, where we will see a clear sky in the morning and by evening rain and heavy rains will occur,” Karunanayaka said.

“This is the second inter monsoon we experience in Sri Lanka that normally occurs during October and November months. But due to the situation in Bengal and Arab seas, and storms and low pressure tides that occurred in those areas, we are experiencing the current changes in our weather.”

Director General of the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) Asiri Karunawardena said 115 possible land slide areas are under NBRO observation and renewed warnings have been released.

Level one warning

  • Kalutara – Ingiriya, Walallawita and Horana District Secretariat Divisions
  • Galle – Nagoda, Neluwa, Yakkamulla, Kadawath sathara and Akmeemana District Secretariat Divisions
  • Rathnapura – Kiriella, Alapatha, Nivithigala and Kuruwita District Secretariat Divisions
  • Matale – Palpola, Matale and Yatawatta District Secretariat Divisions
  • Nuwara Eliya – Walapane, Ambagamuwa, Hanguranetha and Kothmale District Secretariat Divisions
  • Gampaha – meerigama, Aththanagalla and Dompe District Secretariat Divisions

Level two

  • Badulla – Passara and Ella District Secretariat Divisions
  • Colombo –Seethawaka and Padukka District Secretariat Divisions
  • Kalutara – Mathugama, Agalawatta, Bulathsinghala, Palindanuwara and Dodangoda District Secretariat Divisions
  • Galle – Baddegama abd Elpitiya District Secretariat Divisions
  • Rathnapura – Ayagama, Rathnapura, Eheliyagoda and Kalwana District Secretariat Divisions
  • Matale – Raththota and Ukuwela District Secretariat Divisions
  • Kandy – Pathadumbara, Minipe, Meda dumbara, Pujapitiya, Ududumbara, Delthota, Hatharaliyadda, Akurana, Panwila and Kundasale District Secretariat Divisions

Level three (red alert/evacuate)

  • Kegalle – Yatiyanthota, Ruwanwella, Mawanella, Aranayaka, Bulathkohupitiya, Dehiowita, Rambukkana, Kegalle and Galigamuwa District Secretariat Divisions
  • Kandy – Harispaththuwa, Doluwa, Yatinuwara, Udapalatha, Pasbage korale, Gangawata Korale, Udunuwara and Gangaihala korale District Secretariat Divisions
  • Kurunegala – Mallawapitiya, Ridigama, Alawwa, Narammala, Mawathagama and Polgahawela District Secretariat Divisions

DMC chief Ranasinghe said if any person or family refuses to evacuate areas highly prone to landslides, under the power vested upon the government agent of the area, authorities can use force to evacuate the family or person for their own safety.

The DMC breakdown of the affected numbers is as follows:

  • Number of affected districts: 17
  • Number of divisional secretariats affected: 126
  • Death: 22
  • Missing: 01
  • Number injured: 05
  • Total number of relief centers: 23
  • Total number of families in relief centers: 384
  • Total number of persons in relief centers: 1498
  • Total number of families in relatives’ homes: 1020
  • Total number of persons in relative homes: 3,537
  • Total number of families affected: 17,481
  • Total number of affected people: 62,247
  • Total number of partial damage: 960
  • Totally damaged number: 18

Ranasinghe said, while providing the necessary facilities, the DMC has already started to evaluate the damages to pay compensation for the affected families.

Meteorology chief Karunanayaka said the drastic changes in the weather are due to the increase of global warming that is mainly caused by human activity around the world. He called for a global campaign in order to reduce natural disasters.

“With green house emissions, deforestation and industrialisation, global warming has accelerated. According to the latest findings, global warming has increased by 1-1.5 degrees Celsius in the past decade. This is a new challenge scientists are facing,” Karunanayaka said.

He further said the government has taken measures to increase the productivity of the Department of Meteorology and related organisations.

“For this purpose, a loan from the World Bank has been passed, but implementation has been delayed due to the COVID-19 situation,” he said. (Colombo/Nov10/2021)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

UAE investors express interest in Sri Lanka’s energy, tourism, ports, real estate: Ali Sabry

ECONOMYNEXT – A group of investors based in the United Arab Emirates have expressed their interest in renewable energy, tourism, ports, and real estates, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry told Economy Next.

A Sri Lankan delegation led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe is in Dubai to take part in the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).

Sabry said a group of large investors met the President on Friday and discussed possible opportunities in Sri Lanka.

“We met big investors here particularly on renewable energy, tourism, port development and also infrastructure development and real estate. That’s where they are doing very well,” Foreign Minister told Economy Next.

“Our embassy will organize a higher-level business delegation to visit Sri Lanka to look at the available opportunities.”

“There is a lot of traction and interest in Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lanka has been exploring to attract investors to crisis hit Sri Lanka which declared bankruptcy in April last year with sovereign debt default.

Since then, most investors have taken a step back from investing in the island nation due to its inability to serve debts and uncertainty over such investments.

Several government officials said investors may start pouring dollars into Sri Lanka very carefully after they see some certainty of debt repayments. (Dubai/Dec 3/2023)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka to push for green initiative investment “after OCC finalizing” debt deals – President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will push for investment into green initiatives globally after the Official Creditor Committee (OCC) finalizing on the island nation’s debt restructuring, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told Economy Next at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).

President Wickremesinghe along with local and global advisors has inaugurated three ambitious projects to convert climate change-led disaster funding, which is mostly seen as donations, into viable commercial enterprises involving private sector investments.

The idea is to rally all the global nations in the Tropical Belt threatened by disasters related to climate change and bargain collectively with advanced economies which emit more greenhouse gases into the environment resulting in global warming for more green initiatives like renewable energy projects.

Wickremesinghe initiated a Climate Justice Forum (CJF), Tropical Belt Initiative (TBI), and called on the world to help establish the International Climate Change University in Sri Lanka.

His moves have been welcomed by global leaders, though analysts said an initiative like TBI is a “bold and imaginary” step.

“This is the first step. We have now put forward the proposal,” Wickremesinghe told Economy Next on Sunday on the sideline of the COP28 in Dubai’s EXPO 2020.

“There is an interest. We have to wait for OCC finalizing (debt restructuring) before pushing for investments.”


Global investors are hesitant to invest in Sri Lanka due to its bankruptcy and sovereign debt default.

Sri Lanka is still recovering from an unprecedented economic crisis which has compelled the island nation to declare bankruptcy with sovereign debt default.

President Wickremesinhe during a forum on Saturday said his initiatives would help government in advanced countries not to use tax money of its own people for climate related disasters in other countries and instead, private sector investors could help by investing in renewable energy initiatives.

President Wickremesinghe’s government has been in the process of implementing some tough policies it committed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stabilize the country and ensure sustainability in its borrowing.

Sri Lanka is yet to finalize the debt restructuring fully as it still has to negotiate on repayment schedule of commercial and sovereign bond borrowing.

The OCC and Sri Lanka had agreed on the main parameters of a debt treatment consistent with those of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement between Sri Lanka and the IMF.

The members of the Paris Club which are part of the Official Creditor Committee are representatives of countries with eligible claims on Sri Lanka: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America.

The OCC has said it was expecting other bilateral creditors to consent to sharing, in a transparent manner, the information necessary for the OCC to evaluate comparability of treatment regarding their own bilateral agreement.

The OCC also has said it expects that the Sri Lankan authorities will continue to engage with their private creditors to find as soon as possible an agreement on terms at least as favourable as the terms offered by the OCC. (DUBAI/Dec 3/2023)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka alcohol regulations may be spurring moonshine: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s alcohol regulations may be reducing access to legal products and driving illegal moonshine sector, State Minister for Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said amid plans to change opening times of retail outlets.

Sri Lanka is currently discussing changing the opening times of bars (retail alcohol outlets), he said.

Sri Lanka’s excise laws may be contributing to the growth of illegal products, Minister Siyambalapitiya was quoted as saying at the annual meeting of Sri Lanka’s excise officers.

Over 20 years legal alcohol sales have grown 50 percent but illegal products are estimated to have grown 500 percent, he said.

It is not clear where the 500 percent estimate came from.

In Kandy there was a bar for every 6,000 persons but in Mullativu there was one for only 990,000 persons and people had to travel 80 kilometres to get to a legal outlet, Minister Siyambalapitiya had said.

However Sri Lanka has a widespread moonshine or ‘kasippu’ industry driven by high taxes on legal products.

The widely used ‘gal’ or special arrack is now around 3,500 rupees and may go up further with a hike in value added tax. About 2000 rupees of the sale price is taxes.

After a currency collapse and tax hikes legal alcohol sales have fallen, leading to local sugar companies burying ethanol, according to statements made in parliament.

An uneven distribution of bars may also be driving people towards alcohol.

Alcohol sales is controlled on the grounds that it is an addictive product which can lead to poverty, ill-health, bad behaviour and criminal activities, though advocates of high taxes ignore the poverty angle.

High taxes are promoted by temperance movements some of whom have called for outright prohibition in the last century.

Temperance movements spread among evangelical groups in the West and were also embraced by nationalists/moralists and independence movements in colonial authorities.

Prohibition in the US however led to more criminal activity as an organized crime took to bootlegging. (Colombo/Dec03/2023)

Continue Reading