JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissnayake told Parliament yesterday that more than a million people in eight provinces were suffering without water to drink and the government had not taken steps to help them.
Making a special statement in Parliament, MP Dissanayake said delayed southwest monsoon rains had caused immense problems to people in the dry zone of the country. There had been no rain for the past ten months in those areas. Relevant authorities should have anticipated such adverse climate conditions and taken necessary action to mitigate their suffering. However, according to the reports coming from those areas it was obvious that the government and its officials had not taken any such initiatives till the situation had turned from bad to worse, the JVP leader said.
Drought had affected the Anuradhapura, Kurunegala and Ampara Districts and the paddy harvest was expected to decrease by at least 15 percent. People underwent a lot of hardships without drinking water. The government had taken some action to provide drinking water to the affected, the amount provided was not sufficient. Water bowsers come to distribute water only once a week. How would the government expect those people to survive? the MP queried.
Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that drought was prevailing in 14 districts. As the number of available bowsers was not sufficient the government had placed orders to purchase 200 more bowsers. The number of families affected was so high that the country did not have enough bowsers to cater to them all. A large number of bowsers belonging to private owners had already been rented or hired to the development projects such as constructing railways and expressways. Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has allocated Rs 170 million to purchase 50 litre water tanks to be distributed among the affected families. Funds had been released to the District Secretaries to provide relief to the affected. They could use those funds to purchase water if they wanted to.
(Courtesy: The Island)