Death toll 47, others feared dead

The number of fishermen who died from the weekend storm has risen to 47 as of this morning and 19 others are still missing, Deputy Fisheries Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratna said.

He said that there are fears the 19 missing may also have drowned at sea.

In the wake of the recent deaths, injuries and missing individuals as a result of the monsoon rains, President Mahinda Rajapaksa had yesterday directed Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga to immediately take the necessary steps to appoint a Committee of Inquiry to examine the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the fishermen and the reasons as to why affected people were not informed of the impending severe weather conditions in order to be able to take precautionary measures.

The President had requested that a report be submitted to him without delay, the President’s office said in a statement yesterday.

Accordingly a three member committee has been named to investigate the incident. The committee members are Dr. A.W. Mohottala (Chairman), A. Dissanayake and C. Rajapaksha. (Colombo Gazette)

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