Sri Lanka's death toll rises to 30,229 amidst pouring relief assistance
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 January 2005, 18:16 GMT]
Sri Lanka's official death toll aftermath of the tsunami disaster today rose to 30,229 with over 3,500 people still missing, amidst pouring international relief and rescue assistance in terms of man and materials. According to the Social Services Ministry statistics, Amparai
district was the worst hit area with 10436 deaths.
In response to Sri Lanka's call for international assistance, neighbouring India sent ship loads of rescue teams and plane loads of relief items within few hours after the disaster.
At least five Indian naval helipad ships and a floating 45-bed hospital, six MI-17 helicopters and over 2000 men are presently in Sri Lanka, assisting the Sri Lankan authorities to carry out the relief and rescue operations in the tsunami-hit areas of Galle and Trincomalee districts.
The other governments to follow suit were the US, Pakistan and the UK.
A warship of the British naval fleet, HMS Chatham, arrived in Colombo harbour on Monday with an unknown number of sailors and its two lynx helicopters.
The Bush Administration has also decided to send not less than 1500 US Marine troops in a huge helipad vessel, Bon Homme Richard, with at least five hovercrafts and 20 helicopters to assist the government's effort.
The arrival of the US Marines was to be coincided with the official visit by the outgoing Secretary of State, Colin Powell on Friday.
The government of Pakistan has also decided to send a Frigate, PNS Khaybar, with two helicopters and a helipad cargo vessel, PNS Moawin, with 400-member Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF). They are scheduled to arrive in Colombo harbour by Friday.
All these ships are coming with doctors, paramedics, medical supplies, relief goods and food items while a few of them are bringing engineering teams to engage in reconstructing the basic infrastructure facilities such as roads, bridges and schools.
Reports in Colombo said that over 20 nations, including France and China have also involved in the relief operations with many of them sending medical teams in smaller numbers.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Koffi Annan is scheduled to arrive in Colombo this weekend on a two-day visit to witness the devastation caused by tsunami.