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MOST people woke to the news of floods, giving an inauspicious start to the week. Torrential rains continued to lash most parts of Sri Lanka on Monday, causing floods and submerging roads. … [S]ri Lanka is a great example of how society has become more vulnerable to natural hazards. Although floods are natural phenomena, human activities and human interventions into the processes of nature, such as alterations in the drainage patterns from urbanisation, agricultural practices and deforestation, have considerably changed the situation in … river basins. …The probability of flooding is expected to increase; the earth’s climate is changing rapidly. As far as possible, human interference into the processes of nature should be reversed, compensated and, in the future, prevented. It is necessary to promote … changes in water policies and land use practices....

All appropriate action should be taken to create legal, administrative and economic frameworks that are … enabling and within which the public, private and voluntary sectors can each make their contribution to flood prevention, dam safety and the reduction of adverse impacts of dangerous flood events. …— (June 3)

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2014