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DMC gearing up to deal with floods, COVID 19 and Dengue this monsoon season

FILE PHOTO – People crossing a flooded river

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Disaster Management Centre has laid out detailed plans and is ready to face any challenges in the upcoming monsoon season amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, its Director-General said.

Major General (Retired) Sudantha Ranasinghe told EconomyNext that this year’s monsoon season is different. “Along with floods we have to deal with COVID 19 as well as dengue. So we started preparing for this from April onwards.”

Ranasinghe said that the DMC has studied and issued guidelines to be followed by the citizens of areas that will be affected in the monsoon season.

“In the season we know that the main affected areas will be Ratnapura, Kalutara, Gampaha, Colombo, Galle, Matara, Kegalle and Puttalam.” Ranasinghe said.

“So after studying these areas we have identified people who live in river synclines, people who live near mountains and people who live near areas where there is a possibility for landslides.”

Ranasinghe said a special campaign to inform people about the guidelines and the process of the relief programs to the citizens were carried out by the District DMC units in the past few days.

“We have DMS units in every district and with their help we did poster campaigns as well as we distributed leaflets where we have mentioned what to do in a crisis situation.”

Rules under the “new normal” is being introduced by the DMC in order to provide relief for the citizens while maintaining social distance to avoid any possibilities of spreading COVID 19 in the relief centres.

“We have prepared camps in every district as well as quarantine centres in every district so we can send if we identify any patients. And also if we have to evacuate any people who are being self-quarantined then we have arranged separate quarantine centres for them as well.” Ranasinghe said.

“We introduced a new concept called ‘Friends and Relatives’ through which we are trying to control the number of people coming to the centres. Even if you are staying at a friends or relatives house we will provide you with all the food and necessary items.”

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Ranasinghe said DMC have already placed rescue teams and Tri forces units with boats in every district to respond to any situation in the country.

“We have also started cleaning these areas under the supervision of the reactivated environment police.”

Further Ranasinghe said the DMC has asked the public to start and maintain an inventory of their household items to keep track and to make them certified by the area’s Grama Niladhari.

“This time we have asked people to make an inventory of the items they have in their houses and certified it by the Grama Niladhari of that area so we know if something happened what items that was in the house.”

He said if the health officials find any COVID 19 patients those reliefs centres will be automatically converted into quarantine centres and all the citizens will be quarantined.

“And if we find any COVID patients then all the people in those reliefs centres will have to quarantine in those centres for 14 days’ even if the flood or any other situation is over.”

Ranasinghe said to minimize the dengue threat with the DMC efforts the citizens should take the responsibility to clean their personal premises and avoid the breeding of dengue mosquitoes.

“When we talk about the dengue situation as I said the environment police has started their work, but on the other hand it is up to the citizens to protect themselves from dengue.” Ranasinghe said.

“They have to take the responsibility to take care of their environment.”

(Colombo/ June 02/ 2020)