Dec 26, Colombo: Sri Lanka today commemorates the 15th anniversary of the deadly 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed over 35,000 people and destroyed the property of thousands in the island nation.
Several programs have been organized with the participation of the armed forces, the police across the island to commemorate the worst ever natural disaster. Religious functions have also been organized island wide including in the coastal areas to commemorate the worst ever natural disaster.
The National Safety Day main national event will be held in front of the Peraliya Tsunami Monument in Telwatte, Galle with the participation of tri-forces, police and the public from 9:00 am Thursday (26).
All Ministries, public institutions and other government organizations are requested to observe 2 minutes silence from the 9.25 am to 9.27 am to commemorate all who died due to Tsunami and other natural disasters.
This year, the Disaster Management Centers will give priority to district level awareness programs to educate the general public on the management of disasters to protect their lives and property.
Following the 2004 tsunami, Sri Lanka has declared December 26 as the National Safety Day to promote a culture of preparedness among the communities for disasters and to commemorate the people who lost their lives due to all natural disasters.
The major disaster occurred when the southbound Queen of the Sea (Samudra Devi) train plying along the coastal rail line with around 1500 passengers onboard got washed away by the killer waves near Peraliya area in Hikkaduwa about 75 miles south of Colombo along the Southern coast killing all but a few passengers.
The tsunami that was resulted from the Indian Ocean earthquake in Indonesia on December 26, 2004 struck 13 out of 14 coastal districts in the island. The eastern and the southern shores were the most destroyed by the tsunami, which according to statistics, killed 35,322 people and rendered over 500,000 homeless.