More than thirteen thousand dead in Amparai coastal villages

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 29 December 2004, 08:51 GMT]
Thirteen thousand two hundred and sixty one persons, in the Tamil and Muslim villages and towns along Sri Lanka's southeastern coast, have been officially registered as dead, according to the Government Agent in Amparai District. He said about 9000 bodies were recovered from the tsunami hit villages until Tuesday night. The enormity of the tragedy here did not come to light because the attention of the Sri Lankan government and international media were largely focussed on death and destruction along the western and southern coasts which are easily accessiblefrom Colombo.

Tamils and Muslims live in densely populated villages along Sri Lankas southeastern coast - from Neelavanai to Ukandai. Rapid population growth and limited urban lands in the large commercial towns of Kalmunai, Akkaraipattu and Pottuvil had pushed suburbs very close to the sea since the late seventies.

Death and destruction were immense as these were hit directly by the Tsunami on Saturday.

Paandiruppu, Karaithivu, Thirukovil, Thambiluvil, Komari and Oorani are the main Tamil villages by the sea in the Amparai district. All the Tamil and Muslim towns and villages along the Southeastern coast are sandwiched between the sea and a network of lagoons. This limits the land available here for the rapid urban expansion since the late seventies.

The high death toll is also due to poor and delayed rescue operations, according to senior Tamil and Muslim politicians in the Amparai district.

Many remote Tamil villages devastated by the Tsunami such as Umiri, Sangamankandy, Komari and Oorani were isolated from the outside world for several days. Help was tardy in coming because initially little was known about the scale of death and destruction here.

Around 3800 missing persons in Amparai have been confirmed as dead. More 400 bodies were recovered until Wednesday afternoon according to the Government Agent.

 

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