Sri Lanka: Monsoon leaves 5 dead, search for over 17 missing fishermen continues amid allegations that Met Dept did not forecast storm – further winds forecast up to 80 kph in the next 24 hours – 080613 2215z

Monsoon rains, winds kill 5 people in Sri Lanka, 17 fishermen missing and 20 more rescued

Sri Lankan people watch a rescue boat search for missing fishermen in Dehiwala on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Heavy wind and rains caused by the southwestern monsoon killed five people and left 17 fishermen missing along Sri Lankas coast Saturday, an official said. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Associated Press June 8, 2013 9:00 AM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka Heavy wind and rains caused by the southwestern monsoon killed five people and left 17 fishermen missing along Sri Lankas coast Saturday, an official said.

The navy and air force have rescued another 20 fishermen so far, said spokesman Lal Sarath Kumara from the governments disaster management centre.

Kumara said fishermen were the worst affected by Saturdays bad weather. Four of the dead were fishermen, while one person was crushed by a fallen tree.

Thirteen other people were injured, he added.

The meteorology department issued a warning of bad weather with strong winds because of the southwest monsoon activating over Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan navy and air force launched a joint operation to rescue the missing fishermen, by deploying three ships and two helicopters.

Other Reports

Tropical monsoon kills 5 in Sri Lanka

AFP June 09, 2013 1:27AM (local time)

AT least five people were killed and dozens were missing as strong monsoon rains and wind lashed Sri Lanka on Saturday, damaging buildings on the tropical island, police said.

Five people were confirmed dead, four at sea and one on land, while dozens of fishermen were missing, police spokesman Buddhika Siriwardena said.

The navy and the airforce have mounted a search for dozens of fishermen who have been reported missing in unusually rough seas, he said.

The Disaster Management Centre said that rains and strong winds forced authorities to open the sluice gates of four major hydroelectricity reservoirs in central Sri Lanka to prevent damage to dams.

Military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya said ground troops were also deployed to help in relief and rescue operations.

Fallen trees blocked many roads, including the main highway to the Bandaranaike International Airport, just north of the capital, police said.

The bad weather was forecast to continue over the weekend with the South Western monsoon packing winds of up to 70km an hour and dumping heavy rain.

Seven people were killed in Sri Lanka last month when a tropical cyclone brushed the islands eastern coast.

Sri lanka monsoon

Dehiwala residents, on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Five people were killed by a monsoon that hit the coast.

Sri Lanka depends on monsoon rains for irrigation and power generation, but the seasonal downpours frequently cause deaths and property damage.

Independent Television Network News

Navy and Air force launch joint rescue missions to save fishermen

June 8, 2013 3:54 pm

The Air Force and the Navy are continuing their joint operations to rescue fishermen who have met with disaster due to inclement weather.

Five fishermen have lost their lives and more than 17 are reported missing.

The government has launched a programme to provide compensation on their behalf and provide maximum relief to their families.

A group of fishermen who ventured out to the sea from Beruwala, Ahungalla, Galle and Gintota were caught in stormy weather last night.

The Navy, Air Force and Coast Conservation Department have launched a joint rescue mission since this morning.

Around 20 vessels that ventured out from Balapitiya fisheries harbour were caught up in the stormy weather.

Three of the vessels have been found and 10 fishermen were admitted to Balapitiya hospital.

A body of one fisherman is also lying in the hospital.

One fishermen had died when a vessel that ventured out from Dodanduwa fisheries harbour carrying two fishermen met with disaster.

The deceased has been identified as 47 year old fisherman named Saumyasiri from Telwatta, Galle.

A body of a fisherman is also lying at Karapitiya hospital.

A sailor who has been injured in the rescue mission has also been admitted to the hospital.

Four fishermen who were caught up in stormy weather at sea are receiving treatment at Colombo National hospital.

Director of the hospital Dr. Anil Jasinghe said that their condition is not serious.

The Navy sent ships as well as fast attack craft from Galle and Colombo for the rescue missions.

Naval spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said that small vessels will also be used if the weather permits.
He said that the Navy has launched special rescue missions.

Jaya Sagara ship and fast attack craft of the Navy were deployed from the Galle harbour while Sura Nimala and Sayura ships and four more fast attack craft were deployed from the Colombo harbour.

One fisherman was rescued in Colombo and two were rescued in Beruwala. He said additional craft are prepared to be deployed. He called on the fishermen not to venture out until the weather clears.

Meanwhile a number of Air Force helicopters are also deployed for the rescue missions.

Air Force Spokesman Group Captain Andrew Wijesuriya said that a large number of fishermen were rescued in the missions carried out in Mt. Lavinia, Balapitiya and Kollupiya.
He said that two fishermen were rescued by the Air Force. They also saved a boat in Beruwala.

Army Spokesman Brig. Ruwan Wanigasuriya called on the people to provide maximum support. He said that the army has launched rescue missions in the south and the west of the country. The army is also providing active participation in the relief operations on land. He called on the people to provide cooperation for the relief work.

Deputy Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratne said that the government is attempting to provide maximum relief to the fishermen and their family members. He said that a large number of fishermen have met with disaster due to the stormy conditions. He said that the Navy and Air Force commanders have offered maximum cooperation. The Ministry of Disaster Management is providing the necessary support for the fishermen.

There have been allegations against the Met Department for not forecasting the stormy conditions at sea.

Expressing his views, Director of the Met. Department S.H. Kariyawasam said that they had warned about rain and strong winds in the weather forecasts and called fishermen to exercise vigilance. They had also informed the Navy. He said that the warning has not reached the people for whom it was meant. If they had paid more attention the damage could have been minimized.

The train services on the coastal railway line was disrupted this morning due to a protest carried out by a group of fishermen in Dehiwela. The protestors dispersed after Senior DIG Anura Senanayake and Mayor of the Dehiwela-Mt. Lavinia Municipal Council Dhanasiri Amaratinge came to the scene.

The Mayor said that those who attempt to achieve political mileage even during a natural disaster by provoking people should be marginalised. He said that he explained the situation to the protesters and they agreed to disperse. The train services have resumed.

(Ignore date in logo above)

Five deaths, 17 missing due to adverse weather

Five deaths, 17 missing due to adverse weather

June 8, 201306:07 pm

Five persons including 4 fishermen died while 17 fishermen are reported missing so far due to adverse wind conditions affecting parts of the island.

Rescue operations are continuing in search of the missing fishermen, the Disaster Management Center (DMC) said.
Sri Lanka Air Force helicopters and naval vessels have been deployed in a joint rescue mission for fishermen caught in stormy weather off the south western coast of the island.
At least 3 bodies of fishermen were washed ashore in the south western coastal areas of Dehiwela and Beruwela and 13 others injured were rescued in the southern coastal area of Balapitiya.
The fishermen are missing since last night as their boats had capsized in strong winds and heavy rains caused by the activation of the south-west monsoon.
Several fishermen were rescued by an air force helicopter and an aircraft while the Navy divers off three vessels which had been deployed rescued more.
The Met Department has warned of monsoon winds upto 80 kph in the next 24 hours. Angry fishermen also blocked the southern coastal railway track to protest, urging the authorities to launch the rescue mission.
Fishermen community also blame authorities for failing to alert them regarding the weather condition, in order to minimize the casualties.
The Met. Department however says it issued a weather forecast at 3.00 a.m. this mornign advising fishermen and naval communities against venturing out to sea.
Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, speaking to Ada Derana, stated that the Met. Department informed him that they announced the increase in wind and heavy rainfall expected today.
He, however, conceded that there is a shortage of officials at the meteorology department compared to the number of electronic and print media. -


Sri Lanka Air Force & Navy trying to rescue missing fishermen in Beruwala

(Video credit: Saiyaf Jameel)

Published on 8 Jun 2013

Sri Lanka Air Force & Navy trying to rescue fishermen who are missing since the cyclone rocked the coastal area in Beruwala, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Met Department

Sri Lanka’s Met Department reportedly failed to issue a warning in back in November 2011, a week later Disaster Management Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Amaraweera said that he could not understand the reason for that. It would appear that there was a lack of modern equipment and meteorologists at the Department at that time.

However, thesundayleader (Jan 15, 2012) writes about Sri Lanka’s Meteorological Department … “While not unpleasant to the eye, the lack of modernized equipment does not paint a pretty picture……”

Only recently, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera admitted to a “shortage of officials meteorology department compared to the number of electronic and print media” Is it down to funding? How much is a life worth?

The purpose of this is not to have a dig at Sri Lanka’s Meteorological Department as such, but simply to shine a light on a problem that may be risking lives unnecessarily.


One thought on “Sri Lanka: Monsoon leaves 5 dead, search for over 17 missing fishermen continues amid allegations that Met Dept did not forecast storm – further winds forecast up to 80 kph in the next 24 hours – 080613 2215z

  1. Sri Lanka’s Met Department has said that the south-west monsoon can cause strong winds and torrential rains in the coming days.

    Director of the Department S.H. Kariyawasam said that there could be sudden changes in the weather due to the prevailing weather conditions.

    He said that the monsoons are activated with some force in June similar to the current conditions.

    He said that the situation may continue for about two more days.
    The velocity of the wind may fluctuate.

    Some times strong winds may prevail for several hours and then subside.

    However the winds will continue at a lesser speed.


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