08/07/2017, 19.39
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As drought affects people, animals become more aggressive

by Melani Manel Perera

The lack of rain has hit eight of Sri Lanka’s nine provinces, affecting more than a million people. Reservoirs and farmland have dried up. Electricity is in short supply. The authorities are providing water but the need is huge.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – At least a million people have been affected by drought in eight of Sri Lanka’s nine provinces.

Livestock and wildlife are also suffering from the lack of water with the added danger that wild elephants could stampede their way through villages in search of water.

Although the Meteorology Department has forecast rain in the next few days, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) reports that 1.093 million people (more than 300,000 families) have been affected by drought.

The most affected area is the Northern Province, followed by the Eastern and the North Central provinces. However, people and farming in the North Western province have not been spared.

Due to the lack of rain, wells, reservoirs and rivers are running dry. This has forced the DMC to distribute drinking water to the population, but the quantity is inadequate given the need. Electricity too is in short supply.

In Kilinochchi, the Iranamadu Tank, a large reservoir, has been hit and the farmland it supplies has become parched, causing additional headaches for peasants. At least 20,000 families have been affected.

The Forest and Wildlife Department also reports that wild animals too are suffering. To cope with the situation, the Department has placed buckets filled with water at certain locations in and near the jungle.

People living in or near the jungle have also been warned that wild animals might be looking for water near their homes.

Villages are especially concerned about wild elephants, who could destroy homes, fences, and trees.

Photo: Prasad Purnimal

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