Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC), which should be in the forefront of the current emergency response with floods and storms ravaging the country, is facing a crisis of its own.
Its “disaster emergency hotline 117 (as stated in the website)” doesn’t work. There is no answer, zero sound when one calls this number as the Sunday Times discovered this morning (Tuesday) placing a call at 9.45 am. The non-functioning phone was earlier reported on http://www.lankaenews.com/news/1336/en
Further disaster awaits you when you access the website: http://www.dmc.gov.lk/index_english.htm
The situation and warning reports are on icons/columns on the left side of the web. But these contain blank pages when clicking on it.
Here is the best part: The situation reports are under the page titled “OUR MISSION, VISION AND OBJECTIVES”.
There’s more disaster awaiting any crisis-hit citizen seeking assistance: Whose 5-minute video still runs on the home page? Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa opening the DMC’s new building complex when he was president!
When a family that had moved into their week-old, newly-built house in Colombo called the DMC (after trying many numbers) for help as their house was filled with 3 feet of water, pat came the reply: “There are more affected people outside Colombo. They need our assistance more than you”.
The couple, trapped inside their home by 3 feet-high water, had to call a friend who came in a water jet-scooter and ferried them and their 6-month-old baby to safety. While this experience clearly shows that the DMC neither has the resources, experience nor ability to handle a crisis situation of this magnitude, the minister-in-charge, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa and his Ministry Secretary should take responsibility for this watery-state of affairs. (Feizal)