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President instructs to appoint Task Force to look into drought issues

(UDHAYAM, COLOMBO) – President Maithripala Sirisena has advised to appoint a Task Force to look into problems the people might face with a drought predicted during the next several months.

The President addressing a meeting at the President Secretariat yesterday said the Task Force should be appointed to look into issues such as shortage of water, health problems, food scarcity and power cuts that might arise as a result of the drought.

He discussed with officials issues related to the predicted drought and measures the government can take to face the challenges. President Sirisena instructed officials to help the people with the support of the district secretaries, divisional secretaries and the Tri- forces. The President highlighted that the officials can seek help from international organizations and embassies to buy water bowsers and tanks. He said water bowsers can be purchased through the Disaster Management Ministry as well.

President Sirisena instructed officers of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board to identify areas that would be prone to the drought and take immediate measures to find water bodies nearby and supply clean water to the people. He noted that the World Food Programme had also pledged support to supply food for the people who might be affected by the drought.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said measures have already been taken to import rice and that there was a possibility of reducing the price of a kg of rice by Rs. 10.

It was highlighted that as there could be power shortages during a drought, arrangements should be made to produce energy from thermal and solar power. The President noted the need to create awareness among the public to use both electricity and water wisely and added that the media has a major responsibility in creating awareness.

Disaster Management Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa explained the measures that have already been taken by the ministry to face the future challenges due to a drought.(CDN)

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