Sri Lankan coastal towns threatened by rising sea level

Nov 14, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s coastal settlements are at risk of rising sea levels caused by global warming while those in the central hills face landslide threats, a top official said. “If the water level rises Sri Lanka’s entire coastal belt is facing possible destruction,” said Lakshman Jayasekara, director general, National Physical Planning Department.

“We’re also now known to be in an earthquake zone, neither of which is good news,” said Jayasekara, who is also a member of Sri Lanka’s Institute of Town Planners. “So we have to plan now to cope with such risks because plans take time to implement.”

Town planners were encouraging people to move away from coastal areas which are at risk of being inundated if global warming causes the sea level to rise in future.

They were also warning people to move away from the central massif because of the threats of landslides, becoming common during periods of heavy rain and which often destroy buildings on unstable slopes.

Jayasekara said town planners had urged authorities to make use of the opportunity offered by the December 2004 tsunami which devastated parts of the island’s coastline to move settlements inland.

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