Sri Lanka 15 years after the Tsunami

Sri Lanka 15 years after the Tsunami

Sri Lanka 15 years after the Tsunami

Written by Staff Writer

26 Dec, 2019 | 10:06 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Today marks the 15th anniversary of the deadly Tsunami wave that left a trail of destruction, that shocked the entire world. It was a Sunday, the day after Christmas also known as boxing day.

Many people who celebrated Christmas the previous day were relaxed at the start of the day.

The News 1st staff were preparing for another day at the newsroom as usual. The first few calls received by the newsroom were on reports of the earth-shaking in certain parts of the island.

After a while, we received reports that the seawater along the Eastern, Western as well as Southern coasts was fast being pulled back to the sea. We were not too familiar with the word Tsunami at that time.

We also did not have a proper understanding of the signs associated with a Tsunami. Yet, we acted swiftly and deployed our reporters to the locations from which the reports came in.

We then received another call from a person who claimed that the sea is overflowing in Trincomalee.

While we did not have much knowledge on the horrors to come, seeing the signs of an imminent disaster we immediately began to caution and inform the general public of this possible threat via our Breaking News live broadcast.

The first Tsunami wave hit the shores of Sri Lanka at about 9:26 am at a speed of 800km per hour. Sri Lanka which is located 1700km from the epicentre of the quake was hit by the wave 2 hours after the earthquake. The ruthless Tsunami wave claimed the lives of 227,898 people in 14 Asian Countries.

The Tsunami wave devastated the coastal villages in the North, South, East, and West of the island. While the exact death toll of the disaster in Sri Lanka is still not certain, the number exceeds 35,000.

Understanding the gravity of the disaster, taking a step further from simply reporting on the incident, we united as The Capital Maharaja Organisation Limited to respond to this emergency.

While keeping the general public updated on the latest details of the disaster, we also launched a program to provide aid to the millions affected by the Tsunami wave.

The documents of the news rundown on that tragic day 15 years ago, brought back memories to team News 1st.

People from all walks of life in Sri Lanka and abroad rallied around the Sahana Yathara program to provide much-needed aid to our fellow brothers and sisters who had lost their loved ones and everything that they hold dear.

The general public together with our team worked day and night to ensure that the Sahana Yathara reached the victims as fast as possible. This disaster brought together all people of the country devoid of any religious, racial or class differences.

The clothes and food items collected in the South were distributed among the people in the North, personifying the true spirit of brotherhood among all Sri Lankans. The same aid items collected from the North were sent to the South to help their fellow brothers in their hour of need.

Moving beyond the Sahana Yathara Program we invited all Sri Lankans to rise up once again as a nation to face the challenges left behind by this deadly wave. All people across Sri Lanka united as one and we were able to rise from the ashes of destruction within a short period of time.

When this disaster hit certain leaders of our country were overseas. Given the severity of the damages caused by the Tsunami wave, it did not seem like our leaders had any proper idea on how to respond to it. However, the people themselves organized themselves and with their donations to support the Sahana Yathara Program we were able to stand on our feet again as a country.

We continue to recall in our memory the lives taken away by this ruthless Tsunami wave, with the hope that such a disaster will never plague our country again.

These series of events proved that no matter the political divisions in the country together we can even overcome a devastating Tsunami wave.

15 years after the Tsunami these lessons learned still remain timely to all of us.

Meanwhile, several events were organized to remember the lives lost in the tragic Tsunami disaster 15 years ago. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa also joined the events.

The President urged that taking precautionary measures based on past experiences is very important in order to avoid such disasters in the future. He added that adopting technological measures are vital in the due cause.

Meanwhile, the main commemorative event to remember the victims was organized at the Peraliya Tsunami Memorial where the world’s deadliest train accident took place.

The train commenced its journey from the Maradana Station towards Matara at 6:45 am and stopped at Peraliya for remembrance.

Engine driver Wanigarathne Karunathilake who experienced the Tsunami 15 years ago is now retired. Wanigarathna Karunathilake stated that he would never forget that experience and prayed that Sri Lanka will never have to suffer a disaster of this nature again.

Meanwhile, another ceremony was organized at the mass grave in Akmeemana where thousands of bodies were buried.

Another ceremony was organized to invoke blessings for the victims at the Disaster Management Center.

Two minutes of silence was observed from 09.25 to 09.27 this morning to remember the lives lost in the tragic Tsunami disaster 15 years ago.


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