(10.06.2016 – army.lk)
Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, Commander of the Army, expressing his deepest regret over the unexpected inferno at the ammunition dump in the Army camp complex at Salawa, Kosgama during a Press briefing, held this afternoon (10) at the affected camp premises itself, assured that the Army, assisted by sister services and other agencies, would do its maximum and everything possible to bring normalcy to the lives of all affected people after bringing the arduous task of ‘rebuilding’ to completion within the shortest possible time.
Scores of Media personnel, assembled at the venue had the rare opportunity of meeting the Commander of the Army face to face at this ad hoc press briefing and inquired about their concerns before Media personnel were taken round the gutted camp premises for the first time for first hand experience after the explosion took place on Sunday (5) evening.
Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, Commander, Security Forces – West, Major General Dananjith Karunarathne, Chief Field Engineer, Brigadier Jayashantha Gamage, General Officer Commanding, 14 Division and Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera, Military Spokesman, were associated with the ad hoc Media briefing, near the previous main gate to the camp.
Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, admitting the magnitude of the unexpected disaster expressed his deep regret over the loss of property and disruption to the public life in the area publicly as a result of this blast. In response to several questions from the Media, the Commander of the Army further stated that hundreds of Army troops, engaged in clearance work, have been supported by sister services and other state agencies, including local government bodies and the Disaster Management Center.
He also reiterated that every possible attempt on the part of the Army would be implemented to bring normalcy to shattered lives in the area as well as those who had lost everything in the fire. “The Army would continue to be at their service until the final reconstruction component is completed. I assure you that everything would be done for your benefit until the last minute”, the Commander underlined.
Earlier on Friday (10), Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, Commander of the Army, together with Minister Susil Premajayanth, Divisional Secretary for Seethawaka, local politicians, Commander, Security Forces – West and state officials met some members of affected families in Kosgama – Salawa inferno during a special meeting, held at the Divisional Secretariat Office at Seethawaka, Hanwella.
Authorities at the meeting briefed aggrieved civilians on the status-quo, regarding ongoing clearing, repairing and re-building work in affected areas and carefully listened to their grievances with the intention of providing all possible relief to their issues.
Army troops are continuing to provide drinking water by bowsers to those who wanted and others, sheltered in other places as a temporary measure. Sri Lanka Navy troops with Water Board experts after inspecting all affected domestic wells, confirmed that a total of 394 wells are now completely safe for drinking. A total of 406 drinking wells have been inspected in all affected areas and contaminated water in 85 wells was pumped out during the past four days.
In the meantime, Army Engineers, infantrymen and other troops, engaged in clearing operations were able to complete the repairs in about 20 houses which had minor damages on the roofs, walls, etc by Thursday (9) evening, according to the operations room, manned by Army personnel at Seethawaka.
Similarly, troops as well as civil sector authorities, including the Centre for Disaster Management on Thursday (9) went on putting up temporary tents for those returning to their home compounds, although repairs have not yet been completed.
Meanwhile, Army Engineers continue to collect shrapnel and other explosive devices, still scattered in some residential compounds in affected areas. Since special care has to be exercised in handling such explosives, the troops have been compelled to take extra precautionary measures in doing so which is time-consuming.
Meanwhile, another meeting at Kosgama Police Station attended by Ministers Sagala Rathnayake, Ruwan Wijewardena, Commander of the Army, Inspector General of Police and several senior officers had another round of discussion on prevailing security situation in the area.
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