News 1st’s Gammedda spotlight’s Ellewela’s cancer-afflicted; battles through harsh conditions in the North
by Lahiru Fernando, originally posted on March 8, 2016
Tuesday, March 8, the Gammedda teams, continued for the fourteenth day, a journey to bring the common problems and hardships of the rural villages to the attention of the relevant authorities.
Today the News 1st team came across a remote village where many of its inhabitants are suffering from cancer – a group of persons living in between two national parks and several villages – with simply one request from the authorities, access to drinking water.
One sub-team visited the villages of Uvarahena, Sudugalhena, Aluthhena and Kaluwalaketiya. The primary concern raised at all these villages was access to clean drinking water.
The village of Ellewela is home to 226 families whose main occupation is cinnamon production. However, a majority of the villagers are battling various forms of cancer – including oral cancer and breast cancer.
Late resident of the village H.A. Podi Mahattaya was a father of three young children. He died of cancer eight months ago. Although he was pleased to hear that his daughter gained admission to university, he did not survive to see her take the first step towards higher education.
News 1st also came across a village where three members of a single family are suffering from cancer.
North Central Province
One team that is touring the North Central Province visited the Rotawewa village located right between the Kawudulla and Minneriya National Parks. The main issue of the people living here was the access to clean drinking water as well as transportation. What is most astounding is that these people have to walk 50 kilometres simply to reach a hospital.
The other team in the North Central Province visited traditional farmers in the Hatharaskotuwa Village. Even though they obtain the water from the Halmillawa and Makula villages for paddy cultivation, it is only enough for one season. Life is made even more difficult, with one tube well for the use of 250 families.
The News 1st team based in the North commenced their journey from the Alankulam village in Vavuniya where over 50 war torn families live. The main issue that they face is the the constant threat of wild elephants, lack of a proper road system and poverty. These 13 little children who we came across receive their education under very harsh and hard conditions.
The News 1st Gammedda Door-to-Door Campaign supported by the University of Peradeniya, will take place until March 18.