Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A new experience of being flooded out as a result of the recent incessant rains

I went to bed on Saturday night around 9pm after eating some Maggi noodles (easiest to cook) as my farm hand in Hingurakgoda was in an alcoholic stupor and nothing could wake him up, and my man Friday, used the inclement weather to sleepover at a neighbor who has electricity and thus TV. In a nutshell I was alone with the nearest neighbor over a screaming distance away in case of emergency.

The heavy rain started around 11pm, and as I sleep on the verandah, I could not escape the light water spray on to me. Nevertheless it was freezing, another very unusual occurrence in these parts, and I managed to sleep soundly completely bundled out in the open. Waking up at about 3am I shone the flashlight to the river in front and saw that the water level was about two feet below the level of the verandah and went back to sleep. Once I woke up again at dawn around 5.30am the water level was at the verandah, and as it had happened earlier, I thought it was not unusual, until a neighbor came to check on us due to the water level, which had by now covered the bridge close by. I was told that the Giritale Tank was so full that it was unable to take the load, and the spill would be cut about two feet which would send a wall of water downstream, and I was directly in harm’s way.

We had a process to go through, first to move the water pump tractor to higher ground, end then everything in sight out of the way. By this time both the farmhand and the errant man Friday had been summoned to help along with about 4 locals, and others were making there way in from neighboring houses on higher ground, to see the once in a life time rise in flood waters, also being asked to help.

The speed with which the flood waters kept rising surprised us and we realized that soon the paddy store would get flooded, and soon thereafter the adjoining room where the fertilizer is stored. In the end once we began removing the paddy and fertilizer, the water had come in and soaked some beyond salvage, and in the meantime the recently plucked coconuts were floating down river along with some pots and pans and some personal items like shoes and slippers that missed our gaze. In the end I had to get my vehicle out of harms way once I had it filled with wet paddy sacks hoping to take it to Godagama to dry, as there was no chance that there would be any sun for a few days here. Sodden paddy would immediately sprout and render it useless. My home was under 6ft of water at its worst.

Eventually the journey back to Godagama took over 8 hours arriving at 2am through flooded roads and other mishaps such as a flat tire. I was able to carry on my normal routine as usual on a Monday to deliver my produce a little late.


Joe Simpson said...

Dear Rajaratarala
I chanced upon your blog while checking out the flood situation in Sri Lanka - I taught at Richmond MV (Galle) for VSO way back in 1973-4 and was last in SL with my wife in Oct 2002 when we visited Minneriya Wewa and the surrounding area. We wish you the very best in recovering quickly from these latest natural hazards of our changing global climate. Sorry to hear about your nicked haysprayer - hope it turns up soon! I have just talked via Skype about the flooding situation with a good friend from Vancouver, BC who is visiting his original home city of Colombo. Best regards, Joe & Penny in BC, Canada.

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