ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan companies have offered to help strengthen the banks of the Kelani River running around the capital Colombo to protect their businesses from floods that have disrupted production and caused losses in recent years.
Several companies have reported that their factories, warehouses and access roads went under water during floods caused by heavy rains this year and the last.
According to Eshantha Salgado, head of administration at Lion Brewery, which was hit by floods in both years, the erosion of the Kelani River bank is worsening with the recurrent floods.
Flooding was becoming more severe, with more intense bouts of rain, he told a private sector consultation with the Ministry of Disaster Management on how businesses can better prepare for extreme weather events and disasters.
The road to the brewery was raised two feet after this year’s floods, he told the meeting held by the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management Sri Lanka (A-PAD) with the Ministry of Disaster Management and the UNDP.
Salgado said there are industries interested in protecting the river bank so that, in turn, they protect their own infrastructure. But, attempts to speak with government officials on the matter had been rebuffed, he said.
The private sector can provide a plan, bear the costs and implement the work to protect the river bank and their own infrastructure, he said.
Damages and losses to the private sector were about 30 billion rupees from floods and droughts last year, based on estimates from 14 out of 18 insurance companies, according to the United Nations Development Program.
This year, it is estimated that losses and damages are about 5 billion rupees, Buddhika Hapuarachi, a UNDP technical advisor, told the forum.
(COLOMBO, Sept 2, 2017)