Sri Lanka helping in time of need

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Sri Lanka helping in time of need Pics by Chandana Wijesinghe, Ravindra Dharmathike and SL Army

Nepal Earthquake

As the death toll from the devastating Nepali earthquake surpassed 6,000 on Friday (May 1), Sri Lanka continued to lend assistance to its South Asian neighbor in its hour of need. By Friday, over 150 Sri Lankan security forces personnel were engaged in rescue and relief operations in the country, while the government had also sent over 20 tons of aid for the survivors. The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) meanwhile said over Rs.5 million had been received from the public as donations to the Disaster Management Nepal Earthquake Fund that had been set up to assist the victims.

When the earthquake struck on April 25, nations from around the world immediately offered assistance, with Sri Lanka among the first countries to send rescue teams. A group of 44 army personnel and four civil medical consultants left on a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) plane early in the morning of April 26. This was the first part of the Sri Lankan contingent that left to assist in relief operations. The second group left on April 29 on a SriLankan Airlines flight with 97 security forces personnel from all three armed forces along with 17 tons of supplies, the Sri Lanka Army said.

The Sri Lankan contingent, under the command of Major General Maithri Dias, is based in the Dolalghat area in Nepal.

According to Military Spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera, the Sri Lankan contingent had treated over 550 persons, including some with serious injuries since they commenced operations.
Aside from treating the injured, the units have also helped clear away rubble from roads and bridges.

Following initiatives of President Maithripala Sirisena, Commander-in -Chief and the Prime Minister under the supervision of the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, dispatch of the Army relief contingent, was organized in close coordination with the Disaster Management Centre, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Sri Lanka Army further noted.

Meanwhile, the SLAF has brought back Sri Lankans who have been stranded in Nepal after the earthquake. The SLAF C-130 transport aircraft, which flew in the first contingent of Sri Lanka Army personnel involved in the rescue operations, returned to Sri Lanka on Tuesday (April 28) with 42 Sri Lankans, including members of the Under 14 Sri Lanka Football team who were in Nepal to compete in a football tournament.

When contacted, Deputy Director (Media) at the Disaster Management Centre (DMC), Sarath Lal Kumara said the Ministry of Disaster Management had so far sent over 10 tons of aid via the SLAF and SriLankan Airlines flights that ferried the Sri Lankan units to Nepal. The relief items include milk powder, sanitation items, clothes and slippers, all of which have been requested by Nepali authorities as immediate relief items. A further 10 tons of items were handed over to the armed forces on Friday to be sent to Nepal via another relief flight scheduled for early next week. The entire operation is a combined effort of the Ministry of Disaster Management, the DMC, National Disaster Relief Services Centre and the tri-forces.

Over Rs.5 million had also been collected in donations to the special account set up for the victims. Members of the public who wish to make monetary contributions can do so to the Disaster Management Nepal Earth Quake Fund (account number 204100140008896) at the People’s Bank.

Last modified on Saturday, 02 May 2015 22:48

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