[March 30, 2005 - 04.30 GMT]
In a special televised statement President
Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday thanked the civil society, the police and
service personnel who assisted with the orderly evacuation of coastal
dwellers on Monday night. The President also thanked all the electronic
media which helped disseminate the news.
The evacuation became necessary after reports of a
massive earthquake measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale off the coast of
Sumatra on Monday night, triggered fears of another tsunami hitting the
coasts of the island. After the December 26th incident the
Government put in place an interim mechanism for disaster preparedness. The
personnel of this unit galvanized into activity on Monday night when they
learnt of a possible tsunami.
The President told the nation, “we can no longer
be complacent and we have to accept Sri Lanka is now disaster prone.” The
fear of another tsunami just three months after the first one also
vindicates the Government’s policy of creating a safety zone of at least
100 meters in its post-tsunami reconstruction activities, she said.
Sri Lanka’s own Early Warning System will be operational in the near future. Negotiations are underway with the Governments of Japan and France.
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