By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
Assistant High Commissioner of India, A. Natarajan, who visited the landslide hit Meeriyabedda village yesterday said, the survivors of the tragedy need long-term solutions.
The Indian diplomat visited the affected areas to assess the assistance required by those affected by landslides.
He said that he was informed by District Secretary (DS), Rohana Dissanayake, the government is looking for alternative land in Haldummulla to settle the 56 displaced families.
“I visited the area on the request made by Indian High Commissioner, Y.K. Sinha, and I saw the displaced were highly distressed over the calamity they had faced, especially losing their loved ones,” he said adding, that according to the DS, only six children had lost their parents.
“I met a brother and sister who have lost their parents,” he said.
Natarajan also said the victims’ immediate need is permanent houses and lands. “I think the government has kept matters under control. Several NGOs, UDA, Disaster Management Ministry and the NBRO are working on the welfare of the displaced and everything is well taken care of.”
He added that India is also giving relief items worth Rs 5 million. “What the officials asked from us were for items such as power generators, water bowsers, and so forth. We shall assist them in whatever possible manner, as promised,” he said.
Initial reports claimed that 75 children were left orphaned and more than 300 were dead due to the landslide.
Natarajan, however, said that he did not question those statistics. “I did not ask about the earlier numbers of the dead and the missing, however, the present statistics may be accurate. In the beginning there could have been speculations, but later on, you would be able to gauge the missing, displaced and the dead,” he said.