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On Flooding and Disaster Management

Photo courtesy www.facebook.com/battipeople Over the last two days, torrential rainstorms in the Central and Eastern province have caused severe flooding, landslides and an overwhelming humanitarian crisis with 758,000 people affected island-wide (according to the latest update at 7:14AM today from the Disaster Mangement Centre [via JNW]) 809 houses have been fully damaged and 2948 houses […]

COLOMBO MUNICIPAL CORPORATISATION PROPOSAL

I support power sharing. Therefore, my attention is drawn to this proposal, irrespective of  the unacceptability or denial by any government authority of this purported proposal. In the last few weeks, the mainstream media have reported that a Development Authority is to be established for the City of Colombo, with the concurrent move to abolish […]

Film premiere: The Truth That Wasn’t There

I am always wary of write-ups by filmmakers of their films. Labours of love often elicit painful diatribes. The messy, malleable margins of Sri Lanka has long been an issue that many would-be filmmakers have wrestled with yet fail to come to grips. Any attempt to filter its society and polity into a coherent hour […]

Colombo goes under water, and not for the first time

These pictures were taken between 10.00am and 11.30am on the 14th of May 2010 after Colombo experienced rains for about 2 hours. It speaks volumes of the continued failure of the CMC to deal with drainage and flooding issues for the last 20 – 30 years. Furthermore, I was trying to get from my house […]

Who’s Afraid of Amateur Radio? Tsunami’s heroic technology has few backers in Sri Lanka

Five years ago, in the immediate aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, amateur radio helped revive emergency communications with some of the worst affected locations. The decades old practice was hailed as the ‘low tech’ miracle that literally helped save lives. Where electricity and telephone services — both fixed and mobile — had been knocked […]

A photo story: Five years on, forgotten victims of the tsunami

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou, 4 April 1928 Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai in Saainthamaruthu Today is the 5th anniversary of a tsunami that devastated our country.Five years on, but how many of us still […]

Better Governance: The Biggest Lesson of 2004 Tsunami

On 26 December 2009, we mark the fifth anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, one of the biggest and deadliest disasters in history. It left a trail of destruction across South and Southeast Asia, killing over 225,000 and shattering the lives of millions more. For many of us in the media and communication sectors, this […]

The Travelling Circus on video: Looking at war and IDPs through theatre

Obligingly recorded by Young Asia Television at the request of Groundviews, we are pleased to present a full-length video recording of a technical rehearsal / run-through of The Travelling Circus, produced by Mind Adventures, directed by Tracy Holsinger and recently staged in Colombo. An in-depth review of the production is published on Groundviews here. Total playing time […]

180 days after end of war, the much anticipated return of IDPs: An eyewitness account

Last week a group of us got very rare access to some of the resettled areas in Mannar and Killinochchi. I also visited the different zones in Manik Farm (used to be called Manikkam Pannai). As we get to Vavuniya something that strikes me was the number of vehicles (buses and lorries) moving about with […]

Chellaney on Indo-Sri Lanka relations: How not to win friends and influence your neighbours

Intellectuals in India have unfortunately not played positive roles in building good relations with its small neighbors.  For the most part they ignore all neighbors other than Pakistan.  In the few cases they do not, they tend to do active harm.  The recent article in Forbes.com on 9 October 2009 (http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/08/tamil-tigers-rajiv-gandhi-opinions-contributors-sri-lanka.html) by Professor Brahma Chellaney […]

1,000 posts on Groundviews: Bearing witness, shaping peace

Exactly three years after its launch, Groundviews published its 1000th post today. In it Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu identifies the site with quality debate and asks citizens to use it to canvass their ideas for constitutional reform, governance, human rights and the economy and whatever else they see as constituting essential elements of an agenda for […]

“Don’t be stupid! The climate deed is done, so let’s move on to solutions!” – President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives

The President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives in an exclusive interview with Nalaka Gunawardene The Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives is the smallest country in Asia – it packs 325,000 people into a land area just under 300 square kilometres. With an average ground level of 1.5 metres (5 feet) above sea level, it is […]

IDPs: Detainees and Escapees

“Nearly 20,000 escape from IDP centres was the headline of an English language broadsheet yesterday.  The strap line read –“Most believed to be LTTE cadres”.  The article quotes the SSP for Kandy Ranjit Kasturiratna as saying this at a meeting of the Kandy District Coordinating Committee chaired by the Chief Minister of the Central Province […]

Doing the Right Thing: Freedom for Vanni IDPs

[Editors note: An edited copy of this article appears in the Sunday Times of 27th September 2009. This is the full version.] It was a relief to hear that the government was at last responding to mounting domestic and international criticism, and had begun releasing the Vanni IDPs. Perhaps the shocking report in the Sunday […]