While no one died in Ayagama thanks to early warnings issued by law enforcement and disaster management officials, mudslides destroyed 14 houses and 14 businesses. The Ayagama Sri Gangaramaya temple housed many residents displaced by the disaster.
“We live in fear,” says the temple’s chief priest, Rambukpota Dhammadinna. “The 2017 landslide not only damaged part of our 150-year-old temple—debris also blocked the river, causing massive floods. Authorities should take action to mitigate landslides before another disaster takes place.”
The Sri Lankan government is doing precisely that. Landslide survivors and about 1,000 families face fresh hopes for housing and employment with a project called Reduction of Landslide Vulnerability by Mitigation Measures
initiated by the Sri Lankan Government in collaboration with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) through a USD80-million loan. The government is providing the rest (27 percent) of the project’s total financing.
Manorathna and her brother Gnanassena are aware of the project.
“Officials are now making arrangements to mitigate further landslides and expand the existing town,” says Manorathna.