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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Alarm over rising seas but villagers keep returning to risky shore


By Nadia Fazlulhaq

Ports, hotels will cause erosion near and far

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For Shanthi of the Sri Dharmaarama Road fishing village in Ratmalana and Kamala Fernando of Ransigamawella off Wennappuwa, the coming days are a struggle to protect their houses from the strong waves that are rapidly swallowing up the shore.
Thousands of families living bordering the south-western coasts and north-western coasts are at a growing risk of coastal erosion, experts fear.
The latest danger was reported in Ratmalana where about 20 houses were destroyed with chairs, mats, pots and pans of poor fishing families sailing away with the waves.
Prof. W.N. Wilson, senior lecturer in geography at the Colombo University, said more than half the country’s population lives in coastal areas and the coastline from Kalpitiya to Tangalle is more prone to coastal erosion-related disasters.

Sea erosion in Ransigamawella, off Wennappuwa. Pix by M.A. .Pushpa Kumara and Rekha Tharangani Fonseka

He said the beaches of Mt. Lavinia, Ratmalana, Wellawatte, Wattala, Poruthota, off Wennappuwa, Marawila, Kalpitiya, Weligama, Beruwala, Ahangama, Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna would be more affected by erosion due to human-made factors and natural factors such as the south-west monsoon, disturbances in the atmosphere, rough seas and strong currents.
He said crystalline rocks, corals, beach sand and rock debris found in the coastal terrain acted as natural barriers but these were being destroyed in places.

 “Coral mining, mining in rivers and estuaries, rock-blasting to build harbours, drilling into coastal soil layers to build hotels, apartments etc. are among the leading causes for the increased coastal erosion,” Prof. Wilson said.
If another tsunami struck, the western and southern belts would experience greater destruction due to increased development activities and settlements bordering the ocean
“With natural barriers destroyed and coast eroding one metre annually, strong waves can easily enter the land. Environment impact assessments and vulnerability studies should continue with erosion prevention given priority. Most of the wooden groynes, structures built out from seashore to control erosion, were destroyed by the 2004 tsunami,” he said.
Prof. Wilson said the northern parts of the country were vulnerable due to turbulences and rain disturbances in the Bay of Bengal.
Thousands of families live along the southern and western coasts that are highly vulnerable to coastal erosion.
Swarna Perera, member of a 300-strong fishing community off Negombo, said she is currently living in her ninth house with all previous houses, whether built of brick or wood, lost to the sea.
“Where are we supposed to go?” she asked. “The authorities give us money but that is not sufficient to buy a plot of land and build a house.”
Kamala Fernando, a resident of Ransigamawella, a coastal village off Wennappuwa, said during the 40 years the sea had encroached about 300m into the land.
“There used to be so much space for me to rear pigs and poultry. Now there is no space at all. After the tsunami, coastal erosion.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Weekly Hydro-meteorological Report, 14 Aug, 2014


Highlights

Monitoring and Prediction

Rather heavy rainfall events were observed in south western and north eastern coastal region of the country during the past week. Despite these events severe drought condition still persists in north central region of the country. Higher rainfall is expected in the next week by some climate models while the presence of the MJO in the Indian Ocean shall enhance rainfall in Sri Lanka.
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Friday, August 8, 2014

Weekly Hydro-meteorological Report, 7 Aug, 2014


Highlights

Monitoring and Prediction

Less than average rainfall was observed during July. On the 1st of August very high rainfall was observed in south western region of Sri Lanka.
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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Weekly Hydro-meteorological Report, 31 July, 2014


Highlights

Monitoring and Prediction


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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Weekly Hydro-meteorological Report, 24 July, 2014


Highlights

Monitoring and Prediction
Rainfall observed in Sri Lanka is dwindling. Less than 20 mm of rainfall was observed during 16th- 22nd of July. No significant rainfall events are predicted for the next two weeks. The sea surface temperature anomaly remained neutral in the entire last month.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Weekly Hydro-meteorological Report, 17 July, 2014


Highlights

Monitoring and Prediction
Lesser rainfall is observed in the entire country and a decreasing rainfall trend was observed during last two weeks. However intense wind was observed in the country during the past week. Neutral sea surface temperature anomaly persists around Sri Lanka.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Weekly Hydro-meteorological Report, 10 July, 2014


Highlights

Monitoring and Prediction
Less rainfall compared to the previous week was observed during 2nd – 8th July 2014. Sea around the country shows a neutral sea surface temperature anomaly. Heavy rainfall events are not expected during the next 5 day period.

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