Colombo, Environment, Satire

Monsoons: Another western conspiracy against Sri Lanka?

Banyan News Reporters

18 May 2010: Colombo, Sri Lanka: The unusually heavy rain and storm activity over Sri Lanka during the past few days could be the result of another international conspiracy against the resurgent island, a citizens’ science group says.

“The timing and intensity of the inclement weather is too much of a coincidence, just when we were preparing to celebrate our armed forces’ great victory over the LTTE exactly one year ago,” said the Vidyartha Patriots’ Institute for Science and Society (VPISS).

They added: “We suspect that a foreign hand, possibly a western country, may have tampered with our seasonal rainfall patterns. We ask the government to investigate if this could be the case.”

While the south-west Monsoon rains are typically expected to commence in mid May over the western and southern areas of Sri Lanka, the intensity of the rain has surprised even experienced meteorologists. The Department of Meteorology said on 17 May that a storm was developing over Sri Lanka.

The Victory Day celebration scheduled to be held at Galle Face Colombo on 20 May has been postponed owing to the unfavourable weather conditions, the Media Centre for National Security announced on the same day.

Pre monsoon rain, triggered by a stormy conditions in the Bay of Bengal, wrought havoc yesterday in Colombo, Gampaha, Panadura,  Ratnapura and Galle. The news media reported it has displaced over 30,000 families while two people were reported dead and three others missing.

Meanwhile, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said that around 50,000 families in Colombo, 15,000 in Gampaha and 14,000 families in Kalutara were affected by the torrential rains that lashed through these areas for several hours on May 17.

A number of main streets in and around Colombo were flooded by accumulated rain waters, which overwhelmed the drainage systems. Parts of northern Colombo have been without electricity due to power distribution sub-stations being flooded.

Dr Anura Punchi-darshana, convenor of VPISS, urged all patriotic Sri Lankans to be alert and vigilant over sinister attempts to undermine the country’s attempts to rebuild the nation after the long-drawn conflict.

“We remember very well how so many vested interests and geopolitical agendas prolonged our anti-terrorist struggle,” Dr Punchi-darshana said. “These foreign elements don’t want to see Sri Lanka emerge as the next wonder of Asia. They will continue their unholy attempts to destabilize our island using whatever means. This could include unleashing rain-making forces that are long suspected to have been secretly developed by powerful western nations.”

Dr Susan Agunathilaka, a co-founder of VPISS, questioned the wisdom of relying on two annual monsoons for most of Sri Lanka’s rainfall and water resources.

In her view, the origins of the very word ‘monsoon’ should be grounds for concern. Monsoon comes from the Portuguese word monção, which was derived from Arabic mawsim (meaning “season”). Some say this was perhaps partly via early modern Dutch word monsun.

“From our history we know how the Arabs, Portuguese and Dutch have all interfered in the peaceful affairs of our island nation,” Dr Agunathilaka opined. “We should know better than to trust anything like the Monsoon that comes with so much of historical baggage!”

Dr Anura Punchi-darshana goes even further, and proposes that the government should decline the foreign interventionist weather forces called the Monsoon.

“We must stop relying on this foreign rain, and aspire to generate all the rain ourselves,” he urged. “We who hail from a long and proud hydraulic civilization can surely manage this much in the 21st Century!”

VPISS is a little known group that established a decade ago by a group of expatriate Sri Lankan scientists and engineers in New York. Some of its co-founders have since returned to Sri Lanka and offered their services to the government to rebuild the war-ravaged nation.

In June 2009, Banyan News exclusively reported how genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes may have been released in the Greater Colombo by an irate multinational pharmaceutical company that failed to win a health supply contract.