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Torrential rains claim 14 lives, two more missing



By Ifham Nizam

Torrential rains lashing the country have claimed 14 lives and damaged more than 900 houses, according to the the Disaster Management Centre (DMC).

Some 245,212 persons belonging to 60,674 families have been affected in ten districts since last Thursday.

The Irrigation Department yesterday issued a red notice, stating that the water level of the Kelani Ganga was rising.

Department’s Engineer (Hydrology) S P C Sugishwara said the flood situation in the Kelani valley was likely to worsen.

He said flood waters in the Ruwanwella, Dehiowita, Seethawaka, Dompe, Kaduwela, Biyagama, Homagama, Kolonnawa, Colombo and Wattala Divisional Secretariats in the Kelani River Basin might rise further.

More than 800 houses have suffered damage mostly in the Ratnapura and Gampaha districts. At present in certain places, Kelani, Kalu, Attanagaluoya and  Mahaoya have caused minor floods.

However, water levels are receding in many areas.

Nearly 15,658 people belonging to 3,520 families have been affected and evacuated to 72 welfare centres––32 in the Colombo district,  12 in Gampaha, Kalutara 10 and Ratnapura 10.

Some 3,397 of 794 families of these displaced people are staying with relatives or in friends’ houses.

The National Disaster Relief Services Centre (NDRSC) has allocated Rs. 74.5 million for response and relief operations in the disaster-hit areas.

The DMC warned yesterday that the upper catchment areas of the Kelani Ganga basin might cause floods in the next 24 hours.

Adverse weather has affected people in Gampaha, Ratnapura, Colombo, Puttalam, Kalutara, Nuwara Eliya, Kegalla, Kandy, Kurunegala and Galle districts.

Sri Lanka Navy has deployed 33 relief teams in the Western, Southern, Sabaragamuwa and Northwestern Provinces to provide relief to the people affected by the floods caused by torrential rains. They have rescued 66 more persons including children and women, affected by floods in several areas in the Gampaha and Kalutara districts and provided them relief measures.

The Navy relief teams managed to rescue 61 persons including children and women affected by floods in the Ja-Ela area in the Gampaha District and five more persons in the Bulathsinhala area in the Kalutara district.

The Navy has sent out its relief/rescue teams to the flood-risk areas in the Gampaha, Kalutara, Colombo, Rathnapura, Galle, Matara and Puttalam districts. Moreover, 11 more Navy relief teams are kept on standby for deployment, as and when a need arises.

Water stagnation is still reported from Kaduwela, Kolonnawa in Colombo District, Biyagama, Wattala, Ja-ela, Kelaniya, Gampaha in Gampaha District, and necessary relief efforts are provided by district administration with the support of the military.

Showers or thundershowers will occur at times in Western, Sabaragamuwa and North-western provinces and in Galle, Matara, Nuwara-Eliya and Kandy districts today. Fairly heavy falls of about 50 mm can be expected at some places in these areas. Showers or thundershowers will occur at a few places in Uva and Eastern provinces during the evening or night.  

The National Building Research Organization has issued high risk alert for Ingiriya, Palindanuwara, Bulathsinhala, Agalawatte and Matugama in the Kalutara district, Kalawana, Ayagama, Kiriella & Eheliyagoda in the Ratnapura district, Ambagamuwa in Nuwara-Eliya District, Yatiyantota, Dehiowita, Bulathkohupitiya, Deraniyagala, Kegalle, Warakapola, Galigamuwa, Ruwanwella, Aranayaka, Mawanella & Rambukkana in the  Kegalle District. Further, medium level risk alerts have been issued to some areas in Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Matale districts.

The WFP handed over a consignment of items to the Disaster Management Centre to support the Monsoon emergency response efforts. These items which include personal protective equipment, disinfectant liquid and sprayers, thermal scanners and washbasins will help facilitate response and relief activities to assist those affected by the South-West Monsoon rains.

The Consignment was handed over to Major General (Retd.) Sudantha Ranasinghe, Director General of Disaster Management Centre by Indu Abeyratne, Programme Officer of World Food Programme, whilst Director Preparedness and Director Operations were also present at the handover.

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MP’s wife, father-in-law among three detained



Rishad held under PTA to be questioned

16-year-old girl’s death:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police investigating the death of 16-year-old Ishalini, the domestic servant at All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen’s Baudhaloka Mawatha residence have arrested Ayesha Shiabdeen, 46, the wife of the former minister.

Police also took into custody Rishad’s father-in-law Mohammed Shiabdeen, 70, and Ponnaiah Pandaram alias Shankar, 64, a resident of Dayagama.

Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said that Shankar had brought Ilashini from Dayagama to the Baudhaloka Mawatha residence of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Vanni District lawmaker late last year.

Having studied the post postmortem report, they were taken into custody in terms of Section 360 C and Section 308 B of the Penal Code that dealt with human trafficking and cruelty to children, the top police officer said. According to him, so far 20 statements had been recorded.

Asked whether MP Bathiudeen, too, had been among the questioned, Senior DIG Rohana said the parliamentarian detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, too, would be interrogated in that regard.

The ACMC contested the last general election on the SJB ticket. It switched its allegiance to the SJB ahead of 2020 general election after having represented the cabinet in UNP led yahapalana administration. Rishad has also served President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet during his second term.

Having suffered serious burn injuries on July 3 at the MP’s residence and admitted to the National Hospital, Illashini succumbed to her injuries on July 15th. Medical examination revealed that she had been raped over a period of time.

The police spokesman said that they intended to secure court approval to detain the suspects for 72 hours. A Superintendent of Police could obtain such approval on the strength of a B report submitted to the court in respect of offenses on children.

Although, the police indicated earlier in the day they would be produced in Colombo Magistrate court they weren’t brought in.

Meanwhile, the SJB said that interested parties were making a despicable attempt to politicize the incident. The police should be allowed to conduct the investigation without interference, a spokesman for the main Opposition party said.


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Women’s organisations in North conduct protests demanding justice for Ilashini



A section of those engaged in Jaffna protests


By Dinasena Ratugamage

Women’s organisations in the North yesterday held a number of demonstrations in Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna against the death of J. Ilashini, the 16 -year-old girl who died while working at SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence.

The protesters urged authorities to ensure that investigations into the death are conducted in a transparent manner. The family of the victim should be compensated and those guilty punished, they said.

Representatives of the organisations said that if justice was not done, they would hold a massive demonstration in Tarapuram, Mannar, which Bathiudeen represents in Parliament.

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Dancer lodges complaint with police over FB post 



Police headquarters yesterday (23) said that dancer Anusha Damayanthi had lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over a Facebook post alleging that she was running a brothel.

Police headquarters said that Damayanthi, while denying the accusation, had also brought to the CID’s notice that a minister was being accused of lambasting the Walana anti-crime strike force for carrying out the raid. Police said that an investigation was underway.

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