COLOMBO : A two minute-silence will be observed islandwide on Monday,Dec. 26) on National Safety Day from 9.25 a.m. to 9.27 a.m. in memory of all who lost their lives in the 2004 tsunami and other natural disasters in Sri Lanka, the Disaster Management Centre announced.
Tomorrow marks the 18th anniversary of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, one of the world’s deadliest and most destructive natural disasters, which impacted over 10 countries in the Indian Ocean.
A powerful undersea megathrust earthquake, which registered a magnitude of 9.1, struck off the coast of Sumatra Island, Indonesia on a Sunday morning, 26th of December 2004.
About 20 minutes after the shock, Indonesia’s capital Banda Aceh, which was closest to the epicentre of the earthquake, was devastated by massive 100-foot waves, claiming the lives of more than 100,000.
A series of turbulent waves then ravaged the coasts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Maldives, Myanmar and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
In all, deaths from the disaster mounted over 230,000 in a matter of hours.
Sri Lanka was one of the hardest-hit countries with over 40,000 fatalities and property damage worth several million rupees. Thousands were left homeless as waves pushed debris several kilometres inland, pounding buildings into rubble.
Since 2005, the 26th of December has been declared as “National Safety Day” and on that day commemoration events are held as a continuous national event each year, with the participation of the political leadership in remembrance of all those who lost their lives in the country due to the various natural disasters including the tsunami disaster.
This year too, National Safety Day commemorations have been organized across the island at district level, while the main commemorative event is slated to be held in front of the ” Peraliya Tsunami Memorial” in Galle, with the participation of political representatives including the State Minister of Defense, government officials, the armed forces and the police as well as the general public.