[December 28, 2004 - 9.30 GMT]
President Chandrika Kumaratunga rushed back to the island yesterday having cut short a private visit to Britain to take control in the aftermath of the tidal wave disaster that hit Sri Lanka Sunday morning.
On her way back from the airport the President flew over the affected areas to personally view the severity of the devastation. She also ordered the immediate release of Rs. 90 million from the treasury for relief work in nine districts.
President Kumaratunga met with the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, Ministers Ratnasiri Wickremanayake and Ferial Ashraff ministry secretaries, service chiefs and the IGP where she was briefed of the situation. In a separate meeting the President met the Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe and leaders of political parties.
Friday, December 31 has been declared a National Day of Mourning with multi religious services planned.
Further the Ministry of Justice has made arrangements to lay to rest the bodies of unidentified persons. Before the burials these persons will be photographed, finger printed and allocated a number.
The Justice Ministry has
arranged with the Air Force to provide air transport to all City Coroners to
the affected areas such as Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Batticaloa,
Trincomalee and Jaffna to make the judicial pronouncements after
consultation with the local Police authorities before the burials.
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