The deadly Boxing Day tsunami was remembered in Sri Lanka today with two minutes silence being observed at state institutions and most private establishments around the country.
The main commemorative events took place in the south where several people on a train were killed.
Thousands of people were killed in the North, South and East of Sri Lanka in the 2004 tsunami.
‘The worst natural calamity Sri Lanka has ever experienced is the Tsunami tragedy. We should never forget the bitter memories of that shocking experience,” President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said today.
President Rajapaksa emphasized on the importance of formulating an early preparedness system utilizing past experience to prevent such disasters in the future.
‘We need to adopt new technology in this regard’, said the President advising officials to conduct continuous reviews of those initiatives.
The President further said that it was the responsibility of the nation to pay homage to those who lost their lives due to the Tsunami calamity while invoking blessings on them.
Following the 2004 tsunami, Sri Lanka declared December 26 as the National Safety Day to promote a culture of preparedness among the communities for disasters and to commemorate the people who lost their lives due to all natural disasters.
This year, the Disaster Management Center gave priority to district level awareness programs to educate the general public on the management of disasters to protect their lives and property.
The major disaster occurred when the southbound Queen of the Sea (Samudra Devi) train plying along the coastal rail line with around 1500 passengers onboard got washed away by the killer waves near Peraliya area in Hikkaduwa about 75 miles south of Colombo along the Southern coast killing all but a few passengers.
The tsunami that was resulted from the Indian Ocean earthquake in Indonesia on December 26, 2004 struck 13 out of 14 coastal districts in the island. The eastern and the southern shores were the most destroyed by the tsunami, which according to statistics, killed 35,322 people and rendered over 500,000 homeless. (Colombo Gazette)