Sri Lanka remembers tsunami victims today

Tsunami Train - Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka will commemorate today (26), the 9th anniversary of tsunami  and the 7th anniversary of National Safety Day

The national event on the theme “Line up to eradicate Disasters”.will be held at the Kalutara District Secretariat  premises from 9 a.m. with Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne as the Chief Guest on the invitation of Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera and Deputy Minister Dulip Wijesekara..

A two-minute silence will be observed from 9:25 a.m. to 9:27 a.m. at the National Safety Day event to remember the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

The Tsunami catastrophe which battered Sri Lanka in 2004 had a catastrophic impact on the southern, western, eastern and northern provinces of the country. Nearly two thirds of the country’s coastal belt, i.e. 13 administrative districts bore the brunt of the disaster.

Approximately 35, 000 lives were lost while 5000 were reported missing and 95,000 others were deprived of their livelihood.

In a symbolic gesture of creating awareness among people as regards the disaster mitigation, December 26 of each year was named as “National Safety Day”.

In comparison to other Tsunami-hit countries, Sri Lanka was able to restore normalcy in a relatively quicker period of time. Rebuilding activities were carried out by the government in collaboration with NGOs and foreign governments. Though attempts to revive physical and economic background of the affected were quite successful, the healing of their shattered hopes and spirituality remained a gigantic task.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, the government using the lessons and experiences learnt from the tragedy, took action to introduce measures to mitigate the risk of possible future disasters. One of the measures adopted by the government was the passing of the “Disaster Management” Act No 13 of 2005 which incorporated legislative provisions required for minimizing losses and damages to humans as well as nature in a disaster situation.

In keeping with the provisions of the Act, the National Disaster Management Council was established and it was followed by the establishment of the Disaster Management Center to implement and execute the decisions taken by the Council and thereafter the Disaster Management Ministry which has come out with an extensive disaster mitigation plan.

The mandate of the ministry includes disaster mitigation, disaster mitigation preparedness, raising awareness of the people through training and practical workshops, designing early warning mechanisms, emergency operations and payment of compensation and assisting recovery efforts.

(Courtesy: Government News Portal)