Six months have gone by since the tsunami, and the people of Weligama are complaining about the stench.
The sewage system -- a network of open canals leading to the sea -- became filled up when debris from the tsunami was added to the tons of garbage that had been dumped there over the years. Instead of flowing out to the sea, the sewage has just been sitting in the canals, the biggest of which is about two meters deep and three meters wide.
A group of German sewage experts arrived in Weligama in May to clear the canals with the help of some locals. They had come from Frankfurt-on-Oder, Weligama's sister city in Germany. The local people were happy to see them, saying that it was noble of the "white men," as Westerners are called in Sri Lanka, to do such a dirty job.
But the German experts stopped work after just four days, saying they did not have the proper equipment. They haven't returned, and people are now wondering when, if ever, the canals will be cleared.
When there are heavy rains, some parts of town become flooded with sewage. The smell is particularly bad near the railway station, where the water doesn't flow at all. The stench of the garbage-filled canals is becoming practically unbearable.
-- Sascha Gerbracht
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