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Sanka Guruge, the humanitarian who saved 47 lives

Among those who shine due to their efforts during flood relief work, Sanka Guruge is a highlight.

Guruge, a resident of Akuretiya, Baddegama, rescued 14 affected families comprising 47 people during the disaster caused by inclement weather.

Sanka Guruge 

Guruge’s family provided all facilities for the 47 flood victims for over three days, providing shelter at his residence and another house until the water receded.

A majority of the villagers depended on small - scale tea cultivation for their livelihoods. During the heavy floods, the area was inaccessible. Flood water was found over rooftops at Akuretiya and the water level reached over 20 feet. Some victims were found hanging on rafters.

Many of Guruge’s tea plantations located in low-lying areas and on river beds were completely destroyed. Sanka was running a large scale ornamental fish farm in a low-lying area in the river valley of Gin Ganga.

He had imported a ship load of fingerling from Thailand and bred them to be exported once the fish reached commercial value.

He said during the floods, his tanks were destroyed and lost a shipload of imported ornamental fish. The total cost of the damage was over Rs. 2.3 million.

When asked how he managed to provide food for such a large crowd, he said rice is usually stocked to meet emergencies at his house as it is located in the flood-prone area.

He added that in his lifetime, he had never seen floods of this nature.