Colombo’s garbage to be taken to two temporary sites - Harsha
Photo: Facebook

Colombo’s garbage to be taken to two temporary sites - Harsha

April 15, 2017   04:02 pm

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Harsha de Silva says that the government will bear all funeral expenses for those who lost their lives due to the Meethotamulla garbage dump collapsing and that the evacuation of residents under threat will commence immediately.   

“A problem running for decades, perhaps as long as 20 years, came to a head yesterday with the collapse of a part of the garbage mountain,” he said. 

“It’s ironic that it was only a few weeks back that agreements were signed to begin waste to energy projects to finally deal with this perennial issue,” the deputy minister wrote on his official Facebook page. 

He stated that no more garbage will be dumped at this site in Meethotamulla and that two temporary sites were identified this morning for which law enforcement officers will provide access to unblock “protesters driven by petty political issues.”

“However it’s unfortunate that even though payments had been made for those families under risk of landslides to move out some had not done so.” They had even been advised to leave as recently as two days ago, Harsha de Silva said.

On the orders of the President and Prime Minister, a coordination committee to management of the situation was established this morning.

Ministers Sagala Ratnayake, Susil Premjayanth, Patali Champika Ranawaka, A H M Fowzie, Mohan Lal Grero and Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva were present along with MPs S.M. Marikar and Mujibur Rahman. Commander of the Army, IGP and all relevant government officials were also present.

Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe was put in charge of search and rescue where an area of about 150m X 75m is being carefully cleaned up, the deputy minister said. 

The military is using its trained men and equipment and is doing a thorough job to look for those who might be still trapped. The utility lines have been shutoff and safety concerns addressed for the personnel on the job, he said.

Senior DIG Nandana Munasinghe is in charge of public order while the District Secretary of Colombo is overall in charge of all administrative coordination matters. 

He stated that close to a hundred people have already been shifted to temporarily holding locations; schools and others will be shifted as well. 

Dr de Silva said that the Prime Misniter has ordered the release of necessary funds from the Treasury to deal with all financial requirements with regard to the disaster.

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