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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Weekly Hydro-meteorological Report, 28 Aug, 2014


Monitoring and Prediction

Rainfall was observed during the previous week, mostly in the south-western region of the country. Highest rainfall was observed in the Kaluthara district. The sea to the west of Sri Lanka also received high rainfall.
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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


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 21, 2014

Weekly Hydro-meteorological Report, 21 Aug, 2014


Monitoring and Prediction

Heavy rainfall was observed in North Central and Eastern regions of the country ending the drought which persisted in these regions. Very high amounts of rainfall was observed in various parts of the country during the past week. More high rainfall is expected in the coming weeks with high confidence. Sustained El Nino conditions are expected by the end of this year. Sea surface temperature around Sri Lanka has further increased to 10 C.
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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Weekly Hydro-meteorological Report, 14 Aug, 2014


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


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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