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Thursday December 7th, 2023

Twelve dead, thousands displaced in torrential rains in Sri Lanka

Sinharaja forest/Rainforest Protectors Trust

ECONOMYNEXT – The adverse weather prevailing in Sri Lanka since end of October 29 has claimed eleven lives and affected over 28,000 people, and will likely continue, according to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC).

Torrential downpours have been reported in many parts of the island, with the Kurunegala, Colombo, Kegalle, Monaragala, Gampaha and Kalutara districts having experienced over 100mm of rain over the past 24 hours from Monday (08) to Tuesday (09).

Though a decrease in rainfall has been observed, the DMC said Tuesday afternoon that heavy rain will continue for the next 24 hours.

The DMC breakdown is as follows:

  • Number of affected districts: 17
  • Number of divisional secretariats affected: 93
  • Death: 12
  • Missing: 00
  • Number injured: 05
  • Total number of relief centers: 13
  • Total number of families in relief centers: 113
  • Total number of persons in relief centers: 445
  • Total number of families in relatives’ homes: 357
  • Total number of persons in relative homes: 1,243
  • Total number of families affected: 7,529
  • Total number of affected people: 28,263
  • Total number of partial damage: 802
  • Total damage number: 13

The Department of Meteorology said very heavy showers above 150mm are likely in parts of the Northern, North Western, Western and Sabaragamuwa provinces and in the Anuradhapura, Trincomalee, Nuwara Eliya and Kandy districts. Heavy showers of about 100mm can be expected in parts of Matale, Polonnaruwa, Galle and Matara districts.

A low pressure area is very likely to form over south-east Bay of Bengal (05N-11N, 86E94E) during the next 24 hours, the Met Department said.

“Naval and fishing communities are advised not to venture the aforementioned sea area and southern sea areas of the island until further notice,” the department said in a statement warning the communities to watch out for upcoming weather forecasts.

The Met Department said winds will be westerly to north-westerly at speeds of 30-40 kilometers per hour in the seas around the island. Wind speeds can increase up to 55-65 kilometers per hour at times in the sea areas extending from Puttalam to Potuvil via Colombo, Galle and Hambantota.

Landslide warnings that were issued on Monday will continue to hold until further notice, the DMC said.

The National Building Rresearch Organistion (NBRO) has issued warnings for the following areas.

Level one warning

  • Badulla – Passara and Ella district secretariat divisions
  • Colombo- Seethawaka and Padukka district secretariat divisions
  • Kalutara- Ingiriya, Walallawita, Dodangoda and Horana district secretariat divisions
  • Galle – Nagoda, Neluwa, Yakkamulla, Kadawath sathara and Akmeemana district secretariat divisions
  • Kegalle – Ruwanwella, Yatiyanthota, Galigamuwa, Deraniyagala and Warakapola district secretariat divisions
  • Rathnapura-  Kiriella, Elapatha, Nivitigala and Kuruwita district secretariat divisions
  • Matale – Raththota and Ukuwela district secretariat divisions
  • Kandy – Ganga wata Korale, Udunuwara, Harispattuwa, Yatinuwara, Doluwa, Udapalatha and Pasbage Korale district secretariat divisions
  • Nuwara Eliya – Walapane, Amabagamuwa, Hanguranketha and Kotmale district secretariat divisions
  • Kurunegala – Ridigama, Mawathagama and Mallawapitiya district secretariat divisions

Level two

  • Kalutara – Matugama, Agalawatta, Bulathsinghala and Palindanuwara district secretariat divisions
  • Galle – Baddegama and Alpitiya district secretariat divisions
  • Kegalle – Mawanella, Aranayaka, Bulathkohupitiya, Dehiowita, Rambukkana and Kegalle district secretariat divisions
  • Rathnapura – Uyagama, Rathnapura, Eheliyagoda and Kalawana district secretariat divisions
  • Kandy – Ganga Ihala Korale district secretariat divisions
  • Kurunegala – Narammala district secretariat divisions

Disaster management centre said due to water level increase in Kelani river, residents living in low laying areas in Dehiowita, Ruwanwella, Seethawaka, Dompe, Kaduwela, Biyagama, Kolonnawa, Colombo and Waththala can experience minor floods in the next 6-12 hours.

Meanwhile, the Irrigation Department has issued a red notice for low laying areas near Maha Oya.

The department said as per the warning issued for the Maha Oya river basin at 10pm on Monday, the river’s water level at the upstream areas have risen extensively. The water level at the Giriulla River gauging station had also risen up to 8.94 meters at 0700 AM on Tuesday.

“It is warned that there is a high possibility a major flood situation occuring in low-lying areas of the Maha Oya valley in Alawwa, Diwulapitiya, Meerigama, Pannala, Wennappuwa, Negambo, Katana, Narammala and Dankotuwa divisional secretariat divisions within the next few hours,” the Irrigation Department said Tuesday morning.

“Residents and an people driving through those areas are requested to pay close attention in order to save valuable lives and public and private property,” the statement said.

According to the Irrigation Department, dam doors in Rajanganaya, Deduru Oya, Lakshapana, Kukule Gangan Thabbowam Polgolla, Kotmale, Victoria, Norton bridge, Angamuwa and Kuruwita reservoirs as well as the Mahawilachchiya wewa (tank) have been opened to control water levels. The department has asked residents nearby to be vigilant over possible water level incensement.

The DMC said, with five deaths recorded over the past 24 hours the death toll from the adverse weather has risen to 11.

“Rambukkana in the Kegalle district recorded three deaths due to a landslide and two deaths were reported from Giriulla, Mallavi areas due to a drowning incident and a landslide,” DMC Deputy Director Pradeep Kodippili told reporters.

According to the DMC, the Rambukkana–Mawanella road is blocked due to a fallen tree and the Puttalam-Colombo road from Palavi area and Puttalam-Kurunegala Road from the Temple Garden 02 mile post are also blocked due floods.

The DMC said the relief teams are in place in every affected district.

So far 7,167 people have been affected in total and 222 people are in relief centers.

As at Tuesday, 796 properties were partially damaged and 14 properties have been completely destroyed.

The DMC requests the public to dial it’s 24-hour hotline 117  for further information. (Colombo/Nov09/2021)

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COP28 sees new era for climate action with $57 bln pledge; Sri Lanka’s proposals need approval

ECONOMYNEXT – The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) has witnessed governments, businesses, investors, and philanthropies announcing support of over $57 billion across the climate agenda in just the first four days of the global event with eight pledges and declarations receiving historic support.

After a historic deal to operationalize a fund for climate impact response on the first day, announcements have poured in across the entire climate agenda, including on finance, health, food, nature, and energy.

On climate finance, the COP28 host United Arab Emirates launched a $30 billion catalytic fund, ALTÉRRA, with an emphasis on unlocking private finance across the Global South.

The host nation also has announced $200 million for SDRs and $150 million for water scarcity.

The World Bank has announced an increase of $9 billion annually to finance climate-related projects, while the first two days of COP28 saw $725 million in pledges after a historic response to loss and damage was operationalized.

Eight new declarations have been announced which are expected to help transform every major system of the global economy.

These include the first ever declarations on food systems transformation and health, plus declarations on renewable energy and efficiency, as well as initiatives to decarbonize heavy emitting industries.

The eight declarations are:

  • The Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge has been endorsed by 119 countries.
  • The COP28 UAE Declaration on Agriculture, Food, & Climate has received endorsements from 137 countries.
  • The COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health has been endorsed by 125 countries.
  • The COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate Relief, Recovery & Peace has been endorsed by 74 countries and 40 organizations.
  • The COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate Finance has been endorsed by 12 countries.
  • The Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships (Champ) Pledge has been endorsed by 64 countries.
  • The Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter has been endorsed by 51 companies, representing 40 percent of global oil production.
  • The Industrial Transition Accelerator has been endorsed by 35 companies and six industry associations, including World Steel Association, International Aluminium Institute, Global Renewable Alliance, Global Cement and Concrete Association, Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, International Air Transport Association.

Three additional declarations will be announced in the coming days on hydrogen, cooling, and gender. The number of countries supporting these declarations and pledges is growing and demonstrates an unprecedented level of inclusivity at this COP.

Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced three new proposals: Climate Justice Forum (CJF), Tropical Belt Initiative (TBI), and International Climate Change University in Sri Lanka.

However, the proposals are yet to get approval from the general UN body though the island nation’s authorities expect wide support for the moves.

“What we have done is to talk to countries about the initiatives and launch them. Next step is for them to be formally recognized by the main body,” Ruwan Wijewardena, the Senior Advisor to President Wickremesinghe on Climate change, told Economy Next.

Breakdown of financial pledges and contributions so far:

  • Loss and Damage: $725 million
  • Green Climate Fund: $3.5 billion (increasing second replenishment to $12.8 billion)
  • Renewable Energy: $2.5 billion
  • Technology: $568 million
  • Methane: $1.2 billion
  • Climate Finance: Over $30 billion from UAE (plus $200 million in Special Drawing Rights and an increase of $9 billion annually from the World Bank)
  • Food: $2.6 Billion
  • Nature: $2.6 Billion
  • Health: $2.7 billion
  • Water: $150 million
  • Relief, Recovery and Peace: $1.2 billion
  • Local Climate Action: $467 million (Dubai/Dec 6/2023)
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Sri Lanka to start international tourism branding campaign

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will soon start a tourism international marketing campaign under the theme ‘You will come back for more,” Tourism Minister Harin Fernando said.

“We have not had a branding campaign for 15 years,” Fernando told parliament. “A campaign has been developed by Ogilvy.

“It will help us reach the target of 2.3 million tourists next year.”

This year Sri Lanka is expecting a 1.5 million tourists with close to 1.3 million reached by November.

About 6,000 tourists are now coming each day, at the moment he said.

On December 10, three cruise ships are due. (Colombo/Nov06/2023)

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Sri Lanka 3-month Treasuries yields fall

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Treasury bill yields eased across maturities with the tree month yield falling 19 basis points to 14.67 percent, data from the state debt office showed.

A total of 185 billion rupees in bills were sold, with sharply lower than offered volumes in 12-months sold.

The debt office offered 55 billion rupees of 3 -month bills and sold 87 billion.

92 billion rupees of 6-month bills were sold after offering 60 billion at 14.38 percent down 14 basis points.

Only 5.2 billion rupees of 12-month bills were sold after offering 70 billion rupees, at 12.88 percent, down 01 basis point. (Colombo/Dec06/2023)

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