Today marks the 15th anniversary since Sri Lanka faced the devastating Tsunami disaster that hit the island in 2004 killing over 35,000 people.
On December 26, 2004, an undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 struck off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra generating tsunami waves which caused massive destruction in several countries including Sri Lanka.
Remembering the victims of the Tsunami disaster, National Safety Day will be celebrated at the Peraliya Tsunami Memorial in Thelwatte, Galle at 8.45 a.m today.
Religious dignitaries of all faiths, political leaders, public officials, security forces and police and the family members of tsunami victims, will participate at the commemorative event.
The refurbished ill-fated commuter train that was hit and destroyed by the 2004 tsunami at Thelwata, Hikkaduwa will arrive at the same time on which the tragedy occurred.
The Thelwatta Train devastation is regarded as the world’s worst ever train disaster. The tsunami washed away this packed commuter train No. 50 taking over 1200 lives on this location while it was on its way towards Matara from Colombo after leaving Pettah station at 6.55 am.
Following the arrival of the special train, floral tribute will be held remembering hundreds of thousands people who lost their lives on that fateful day. In 2005, a Cabinet Memorandum titled “National Safety Day” was approved to declare December 26 as a day to remember the people who perished in the 2004 tsunami. The commemoration ceremonies would also be held in 14 districts across the country this year followed by the multi-religious activities and giving priority for the educating people on the measures of disaster mitigation. The event will be organized by the Disaster Management Centre in all districts. The DMC requests to conduct a two-minute silence from 9.25 am to 9.27 am in remembrance of all those who lost their lives in the 2004 tsunami. Meanwhile, a two-minute silence will also be observed from 9.25 am to 9.27 at all the state organizations across the country.
The Galle Disaster Management Center yesterday appealed to all Sri Lankans to observe two minutes silence from 9.25 to 9.27 am today to remember the tsunami victims.
(Source: Daily News – By Irangika Range and Mahinda P.Liyanage)