President Kumaratunga briefs tsunami crisis to Colombo-based diplomats
[TamilNet, Friday, 31 December 2004, 16:44 GMT]
President Kumaratunga Friday met Colombo based diplomats and members of the International Agencies to brief them on the crises faced by Sri Lanka in the aftermath of Sunday's disaster. Commenting on the long term needs of the country she has said that the country "would welcome the assistance of all friendly nations", adding that the damaged road network would be given the first priority followed by telecom, hospitals, schools, housing.
Claiming that the UN would send a special team to make an assessment of the damage to infrastructure, President Kumaratunga has conceded that the country was not at all prepared to face such an enormous natural disaster.
"We were not prepared to face such a calamity. In the first 48 hours coordination was poor. However it is now functioning smoothly with in organized manner," a statement from the President's office said.
Explaining them on the special task force, which operates from the President's Office, she has said that a National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) has been put in place already to rebuild damaged infrastructure.
She has also said that all political parties in Parliament, except the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), have accepted her invitation.
The president denied media reports about the neglect in delivering relief supply to Northeast. Such reporting is the work of "LTTE's propaganda mechanism", she said.
The envoys representing India, Bangladesh, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Japan, Malaysia, Switzerland, the UK, the USA, Norway, Italy, and the heads of the UNDP, World Bank, ICRC, ADB, IMF expressed their views in the meeting.
The President was accompanied by Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, Secretary to the President W.J.S. Karunaratne, head of the Peace Secretariat Jayantha Dhanapala, the Service Commanders and the Police Chief. (ENDS)