Army troops, engaged in day and night cleaning, repairs and restoration commitments in Kosgama areas for explosion-affected civilians, in what could be considered a significant phase in the restoration of normalcy in public life, completed repairs to 51 houses by this morning and enabled the occupants to return home, the army media unit said.
The army said that the entire re-thatching of roofs, replacement of damaged tiles, asbestos or tin sheets, repairing or replacement of rafters or sloping beams, wooden roof structures, ceilings, doors, toilets and all other minor repairs, etc were effectively carried out in those 51 houses by Army engineer troops in the past 5 days after infantrymen cleared the entire compounds.
By last morning, more than 40-43 families arrived back at their houses to re-start their shattered lives after troops completed repairs to their homesteads and formally intimated to them through Grama Seva officials.
Similarly, evaluation work and estimate of damaged properties, being still carried out by various agencies and troops are to be hopefully completed as dusk falls on Saturday (11), according to the Disaster Management Centre, Divisional Secretariat and the troops, committed to this specific assignment in the area.
The army said that 30 field toilets have already been put up at the places where displaced people remained temporarily housed although the numbers in those places are now fast dwindling. By this morning (11), a total of only 232 members of 78 families remain still sheltered at Bollatawa Temple, Muruthagama Community Hall, Kaluaggala Temple and Boralugoda Temple where cooked meals are served by the Army thrice a day with close coordination of the Divisional Secretariat. Similarly, dry rations are continuously distributed among civilians who have already returned to their dwelling places, in addition to the supply of financial aids by state agencies.
As of this morning, 549 drinking water wells have been fully cleared of toxic elements by Navy personnel and Water Board experts, and declared suitable for drinking by authorities. However, water is still being distributed through bowsers among affected occupants in some specific areas. A total of 55 plastic water tanks, supplied by the Water Board which have been placed in most needed locations, are regularly filled by Army water bowsers and Water Board vehicles.
In place of completely gutted houses, a total of 240 camp tents have been already set up for the affected until construction of their houses anew in the same locations or elsewhere are carried out as convenient to them.
Meanwhile, special mobile medical units, operational in affected areas continue to monitor health conditions of the victims, housed in relief centres and elsewhere. Army and state medical personnel are manning those units. (Colombo Gazette)