A fifteen-member US Congressional delegation was in Sri Lanka on Monday and Tuesday [10th and 11th]. The Congressmen toured affected areas in Galle, Hikkaduwa and Seenigama in Southern Sri Lanka to see for themselves the devastation caused by the Asian tsunami.
Before their departure the Congressmen met Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and briefed him on their experiences.
The delegation said they were astonished by Sri Lankan competence in the relief operations now on, in the areas they visited. They appeared very impressed with the local people and their total commitment to the task.
The Congressmen were pleased to see Buddhist clergymen involved in relief work in mosques and churches. This was not what they had read about Sri Lanka in the Western media they bemused. They said the United States would assist Sri Lanka in its reconstruction efforts and echoed the words of President Bush "we will be there for the long haul". Several members of the delegation are on the House Appropriations Committee, which allocates money for the federal budget.
The delegation led by Representative James Leach from Iowa also included Senator Jon Corzine from New Jersey and Senator Sam Brownback from Kansas
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