25/08/2017 – Kegalle, Sri Lanka: The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society vested in public the first house completed for people affected by the Aranayake landslide in Kegalle yesterday (24th). This house was built by the funds donated by the public in Sri Lanka and the world over through online contributions.
On the 17th of May 2016, the Samasara mountain in Aranayake gave way and came atop three villages underneath burying it completely. According to Government estimates over 100 people died owing to this disaster.
Sri Lanka Red Cross Society volunteers from the Kegalle branch were one of the few relief aid workers who assisted the victims from the time of the incident.
Families who were displaced were relocated into temporary camps in various parts of the district, and the Government was taking steps to find safer lands for the rebuilding process to take place. Accordingly, the Sri Lanka Red Cross committed initially to provide houses for around 25 families, and steps were taken to build houses for them. Today the first house that was completed was handed over to its proud owner Mr W. G. Ariyapala.
After the usual religious observances, steps were taken to ceremoniously open the house and hand over the keys to Mr Ariyapala by the President of Sri Lanka Red Cross.
Ariyapala, 65 years old is a disabled person. He lost his wife and children due to the landslide. Soon after the incident he and one of his sons who survived were living in temporary camps set up by the Red Cross & the Government to assist.
In the aftermath of the disaster, the Sri Lanka Red Cross with its partners were engaging in emergency care soon after the catastrophe and later on took steps to address issues of these people in the longer term. Accordingly, from funds collected by the public and other generous donors, the Red Cross committed to building 25 houses in the area, of which the first one was vested to Mr Ariyapala during a ceremony at his new home in Wasanthagama, Aranayake today.
The house has 3 bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, an indoor bathroom and a shrine room was constructed as per Government specifications.
Jagath Abeysinghe, the President of Sri Lanka Red Cross, G. L. S. Senadeera Director General of the Disaster Management Centre, Sudath Madugalle the Deputy Director General of Sri Lanka Red Cross, Anura Saman Additional District Secretary of Kegalle, Mohammed Faizal the Divisional Secretary of Aranayake, S. Rajanayake the Planning Director and the Police OIC of Aranayake and Ananda Uyanwatta the Branch Executive Officer for Sri Lanka Red Cross Kegalle Branch were present for the occasion.
Addressing the gathering, the Director General of DMC G. L. S. Senadheera thanked the Red Cross for its efforts in building a house for the most vulnerable in the district and spoke about the need to speed up the resettlement for other victims of the disaster.
Construction of the other houses are ongoing and will be vested in the public soon.