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Sri Lanka erects first of 100 tsunami warning towers to mark disaster anniversary

Sri Lanka erects first of 100 tsunami warning towers to mark disaster anniversary

Sri Lanka on Tuesday marked the anniversary of the 2004 tsunami that killed 35,000 people on the island by erecting the first of 100 coastal warning towers and offering Buddhist hymns for the dead.
All motor vehicles, except for ambulances, were to come to a standstill at the exact moment the killer waves crashed ashore _ at 9:25 a.m. (0355GMT) for two minutes to mark the tragedy.
"We have requested all the people to join this countrywide campaign to honor those tsunami victims" Sarath Lal Kumar spokesman of the Disaster Management Ministry said. The ministry took the initiative to declare Dec. 26 "National Safety Day" as part of an effort to promote safety by educating people about disasters.
The country's first early warning tower will be put into action in the southern town of Hikkawaduwa, a key center of the country's beach tourism that was battered by the tsunami.
The 11.5-meter (37.73-feet) steel tower will have 16 loud speakers connected by telephone with the island's main disaster management center in the capital, Colombo. In the event of an impending disaster, warnings will be broadcast through the megaphones.
The government plans to erect 99 other towers all along the coast.
"Our intention is to use them not only as tsunami warning towers, but also for all other disasters, including floods, landslides," Kumara said.
After Indonesia, Sri Lanka was the country worst affected by the tsunami.
Also Tuesday, President Mahinda Rajapakse is scheduled to unveil a statue of Buddha, a shorter replica of a Buddha sculpture in Afghanistan's Bamiyan province that was destroyed in 2001. The statue is in the seaside town of Peraliya, where a train with more than 1,000 people was swept away by the tsunami.
Afghanistan's former Taliban rulers destroyed the fabled fifth-century Buddhas in March 2001, disregarding worldwide protests to spare the archaeological treasures that were built into soaring cliffs of the Bamiyan Valley.


Updated : 2021-07-24 15:46 GMT+08:00