[December 31, 2004 - 10.30 GMT]
President Chandrika Kumaratunga visited the Trincomalee and Kalmunai areas on Thursday 30th to meet the victims of the tidal wave and inspect the damage to property. The helicopter touched down at the Trinco Navy Camp, and she first visited the Vivekananda School where several destitute people are housed.
Among those who received the President at this center were two LTTE female cadres, who welcomed her with warm handshakes. They chatted to the President for awhile. The President then talked to the people housed there, most of who were fisher folk who had lost their dwellings and boats. The President assured them the government would assist them to rebuild their lives and that within two months they would be provided alternate housing and boats.
The President also chatted to the doctors there and queried if their medical needs were adequate. She directed Minister Maithripala Sirisena and the Trincomalee GA Gamini Rodrigo to assess their needs and ensure supplies.
The President then proceeded to the Abeypura Temple and met those housed there. There were 1, 161 families, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people from Sirimapura, Vijithapura, Uppuweli and Samudra Town and in all around 6000 people. A majority these people were also from the fishing community. They too had lost all their boats and dwellings. These people told the President their food needs and other basic requirements were being provided. There too the President inquired about necessary facilities for the medical personnel on duty.
Back at the Navy Camp the President discussed the current situation in Trincomalee with the Senior Military and Police personnel and the Government Agent and other civil leaders. She informed them to identify suitable state lands at least a kilometer away from the coast for housing for the displaced and report back before the 15th of January. She requested the Trincomalee’s Government Agent to compute and submit in detail a list of people who have lost their fishing boats and thereby their livelihood. The President also wanted a daily report from all centers housing the displaced sent to the Special Coordinating Unit at the Presidential Secretariat. She assured further funds will be released to provide the inmates facilities in the future.
The President requested the Government Agent to establish hospital camps with the help of the foreign doctors and urgently provide them with medical drugs and other facilities. The Hospital in Kinnya was totally destroyed by the tidal waves.
The President was informed that in the Trinco District alone a total of 37, 948 families are displaced. Centers with satellite communication facilities have already been set up in all GAs offices for better coordination.
the President went to see the victims of Kalmunai area. The President went
to the Kamal Pathima National School and talked to the displaced there were
about 2500 of them. When she discussed matters with the clergy of the Kamal
mosque they said that adequate food supplies and other facilities were
coming in but they required water tanks and cooking utensils. A large crowd
had gathered there on hearing of the President’s arrival.
There after the President went to another camp set up at the Mahamath
Kantha Vidiyalaya, which housed around 3500. Minister Ferial Ashraff joined
the President here. The President had a chat with the French medical and
Relief Workers teams who came to the country at her request to serve the
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