Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Friday, October 31, 2014

Northern Province HND Holders Receive Positions As Graduate Trainees

Colombo Telegraph
October 31, 2014 
A group of Higher National Diploma holders from the Northern province who filed a fundamental rights petition seeking justice for being deprived of appointments as graduate trainees yesterday withdrew their petition after the Supreme Court recommended that all petitioners be accepted as graduate trainees, provided they fulfil other necessary requirements.
Supreme_Court_Colombo telegraphDuring the case that was taken up yesterday the SC also recommended that all permanent appointments of the petitioners should be backdated once they completed their training.
The petition was submitted by a group of 228 petitioners on July 31, 2012. Although they all held HNDs – a qualification that was consistently recognized as an equivalent  to a university degree to enter the public service – they were prevented from applying for the post of graduate trainees, although similarly qualified individuals were recruited into the public service as graduate trainees.
When the case was taken up on September 29, 2014, the Senior state counsel representing the Attorney General’s Department informed the Court that a settlement was under consideration but that several would be ineligible to enter the public service as a result of a policy decision to accept applicants who were only below 35 years.
The same fact was mentioned once again before the Court yesterday in order to reach a settlement.  The State counsel informed Court that only 213 petitioners have been accepted into the public service as graduate trainees due to the age restriction.
This argument was however countered by the Counsel representing the petitioners who referred to a circular issued by the Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Public administration and home affairs in May, 2013 that instructed all District Secretaries to accept applications of all those aged between 35 – 45 years for the graduate trainee positions.
Based on that fact the Counsel informed that the petitioners who currently remained ineligible were entitled to have their appointments and that all the petitioners were entitled to have their permanent appointments backdated to July 2013.
Related posts;

Negotiations towards a Political Solution: Sampanthan Sets the Record Straight

Sampanthan 6_CI
Sri Lanka BriefBy R. Sampanthan, MP, TNA-31/10/2014 
During his speech, Sir, His Excellency the President has also referred to political issues. I refer to points 2.6 and 2.7 in his speech. He has talked about the need for a political solution. He has insinuated that the Tamil National Alliance is not cooperating with the Government in regard to a political solution. He has also alleged that the Tamil National Alliance is responsible for the present stalemate regarding a suitable political solution. I do not think, Sir, that these statements of the President are in accordance with the true position. I do not intend to engage in a confrontation, but I do think when the President has made a statement of this nature, the truth needs to be put on record, and that, we need to respond. We are committed to the evolution of a political solution within the framework of a united and undivided Sri Lanka. It is true that there was a demand for the restoration of sovereignty of the Tamil people consequent to the enactment of the 1972 Constitution, which denied them everything and made them second class citizens. The Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement, ever since its inception, the date of Agreement is 29th July 1987 – the first commitment in the agreement is that the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka must be preserved. Ever since then, Sir, the demand for separation has not been pursued. It is the expectation of the vast majority of Tamil people that there will be a political solution that would enable them to live as equal citizens within a united and undivided Sri Lanka. They would much prefer and indeed want to be equal Sri Lankans rather than pursue a separatist goal. It is in this background, Sir, that I propose to analyze what the President has said in the course of his Budget Speech and all that has happened, particularly, after President Rajapaksa’s assumption of office for the first time in 2005.

RWB PUTS TEN FACES TO ITS 


#FIGHTIMPUNITY CAMPAIGN

PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY 30 OCTOBER 2014.

Prageeth Eknaligoda

Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders is highlighting ten emblematic cases of impunity as part of its #FightImpunity campaign for the first International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. The aim is to involve the general public and step up pressure on governments to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice.
When the UN General Assembly created International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on 13 December 2013, it designated 2 November, the anniversary of the murder of the twoRadio France Internationale journalists, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon in Kidal, Mali, in 2013.

Reporters Without Borders has chosen these 10 cases to put names and faces to the tragic statistics and to show the scale and different forms that impunity can take. The resources deployed by authorities to solve these and many other cases have been either non-existent or hopelessly inadequate. More than 90 percent of crimes against journalists are never solved and therefore never punished.

These ten impunity cases are presented on a specially created website, http://fightimpunity.org/en. Some of the victims disappeared, such Mexican crime reporter María Esther Aguilar Cansimbe, Abidjan-based French journalist Guy-André Kieffer, Iranian newspaper editor Pirouz Davani and Sri Lankan political analyst and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda.

Some were murdered such as Pakistani reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad, the young Serbian journalistDada Vujasinovic, the Beirut-based columnist Samir Kassir and the Dagestani journalistAkhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, who was gunned down in 2013.

Dawit Isaak, a journalist with Swedish and Eritrean dual nationality, has been held incommunicado in Eritrean President Issayas Aferworki’s hellish prison camps for the past 13 years, while police officers tortured Bahraini reporter Nazeeha Saeed for covering pro-democracy demonstrations.

We must never abandon journalists who are the victims of crimes, not even posthumously,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “The ten impunity cases we are presenting are shocking examples of incompetence or wilful inaction by officials who should be punishing despicable crimes against those who have tried to describe reality as it is.

“Such a level of impunity just encourages those who commit these abuses. International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists is an occasion for paying tribute to the victims, reminding governments of their obligation to protect journalists and combat impunity, and reminding those who target journalists that one day they will be held to account for their actions.

Whether killed execution-style, blown-up by a bomb, tortured to death or disappeared, these journalists paid the price for their commitment to freedom of information. They were targeted for investigating corruption or drug trafficking, for criticizing the government or intelligence agencies or for drawing attention to human rights violations. Some of the cases have become emblematic, others are less well known.

Those responsible were many and varied, and include governments, armed groups and hit-men. RWB blames the shortcomings of police and justice systems for the failures to solve these cases or to convict the perpetrators and instigators.

Around 800 journalists have been killed in connection with their work in the past decade. The deadliest year was 2012, with 88 journalists killed. The number of killed fell slightly in 2013 but the figures for physical attacks and threats against journalists continued to rise. At total of 56 journalists have been killed since the start of 2014.

RWB’s recommendations

To combat impunity, Reporters Without Borders is calling for the creation of the position of special adviser to the UN secretary-general on the safety of journalists. Creating such a post at the heart of the UN system would enable monitoring and verification of states’ compliance with their obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1738 and the General Assembly resolution of 18 December 2013.
Adopted on 23 December 2006, Resolution 1738 reminds states of their “obligations under international law to end impunity.” The resolution passed by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 2013 calls on states to conduct “impartial, speedy and effective investigations into all alleged violence against journalists (…) to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.”

A resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on 19 September called in similar terms for an end to impunity. A proper international monitoring and verification mechanism is needed so that all these resolutions can be implemented.

RWB is also calling for an amendment to article 8 of the International Criminal Court’s statute so that deliberate attacks on journalists, media workers and associated personnel are defined as war crimes. As a member of the French coalition of the ICC, it is urging states to pass legislation allowing them, under the principle of universal jurisdiction, to prosecute those in their territory who committed grave crimes in another country.

The European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have ruled that respect for freedom of information not only requires states to abstain from arbitrarily interfering in the use of the right to information but also requires them to protect journalists and prosecute those who target them.

RWB calls on states to implement these provisions by conducting immediate, effective and independent investigations into attacks against journalists and prosecuting those responsible.

The authorities that conduct these investigations must be able to resist any political, diplomatic or technical pressure or obstacles they may encounter. In some ongoing cases, RWB has seen how the threat of ending a judicial investigation represents a victory for impunity.

Securely communicate with Groundviews



GroundviewsThe Editor of Groundviews can now be reached over Telegram, a secure messaging app for mobiles and desktop chat clients.
Given the Snowden revelations in general and the pervasive surveillance architectures governing information flows in Sri Lanka, secure communications for whistleblowers, informants, human rights defenders and civil society activists is of paramount importance.
As noted on the web, “Telegram is a messaging app with a focus on speed and security. Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram is cloud-based and heavily encrypted. As a result, you can access your messages from several devices at once, including tablets and computers, and share an unlimited number of photos, videos and files (doc, zip, mp3, etc) of any size”.

Defense tools for Sri Lanka's online onslaught

Sanjana Hattotuwa, the founder of the citizen journalism website Groundviews, sent us the links to a new series of posters and videos focused on digital communications security. The material, which is aimed at a Sri Lankan audience, is available in English, Sinhala, and Tamil, but is relevant to anyone who uses the Internet or a mobile phone.Securely Communicate With Groundviews by Thavam

Sunday Leader To Remove Sumanthiran From Gota Case After Rigorous Cross-Examination


Colombo Telegraph
October 31, 2014
The Mount Lavinia District judge was told today (October 31, 2014) in defamation case number 6036/08, known as the MIG Case, filed against Leader Publications (Pvt) Ltd by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence (and brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa), that the new management of Leader Publications now wants to retain fresh counsel to defend the company. This development comes, after Rajapaksa was subjected to rigorous cross-examination for several days, by a team of lawyers headed by senior counsel M. A. Sumanthiran, on behalf of the Sunday Leader. The cross-examination is still not over. Colombo Telegraph has previously reported that journalists were prevented from observing and reporting on these court proceedings, by the military.
Sumanthiran
Sumanthiran
The management change is as a result of a change of ownership in the Sunday Leader newspaper’s publisher, Leader Publications (Pvt) Ltd. The company is now bought over by interests represented by controversial businessman, Asanga Seneviratnewho is widely believed to be close to the Rajapaksa regime.
Some time ago, the counsel who appeared for the Sunday Leader against Rajapaksa to defend allegations of defamation were described as ‘traitors in black coats’ by the Defence Ministry website. This  caused the Bar Association and others to protest and strongly condemn the attempt to interfere with the right of all to legal representation and due process. The item was removed from the site, thereafter.
The court gave instructing attorney A. Ranagala who told court of the management decision, time to organize new counsel according to the wishes of the new management of Leader Publications.
Secretary Rajapaksa filed a defamation suit against The Sunday Leader newspaper which exposed details regarding the controversial purchase of MiG 29 by the ministry of defence in 2007.
Related posts;

Rain fails to prevent river of people to Nugegoda

lankaturth
FRIDAY, 31 OCTOBER 2014
The rally held at Nugegoda yesterday 30th) organized by ‘People’s Movement for Democracy (PMD) under the theme (30th) “No third term for Mahinda – No illegal presidential elections!” was attended by a large crowd despite heavy rain.
The rally was chaired by Senior Lecturer Ven. Dhambara Amila Thero.  Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero, former Chief Justice Sarath N. de Silva, the Leader of the JVP Anura Dissanayaka, The Chief Editor of ‘Ravaya’ K.W. Janaranjana, Parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga, The President of Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) Senior Lecturer Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Attorney at Law Chandrapala Kumarage  representing Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), Attorneys-at-Law, Chrismal Warnasuriya Chrismal Warnasuriya, Presidents Counsel Srinath Perera, Attorney-at Law Upul Kumaraperuma, Attorney-at-Law Sunil Watagala, renown Translator Gamini Viyangoda, the President of Sri Lanka Journalists Trade Union (SLJTU) Mandana Ismail were present on stage. Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayaka joined those on the stage while the rally was progressing.
All speakers who addressed the rally spoke against holding an illegal presidential election.

The Rise Of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Democracy, Terrorism And The Muslim Factor In Sri Lanka

Colombo Telegraph
By Nishthar Idroos -October 31, 2014 |
Nishthar Idroos
Nishthar Idroos
Aluthgama ViolenceWinds heralding another round of elections loom high. Astrologers, fortune-tellers,  and every political soothsayer are busying themselves to make the kill. It’s that kind of season once again in Sri Lanka. The time to lubricate the palms big time if you’re someone or anyone endowed with the incomprehensible science of planetary movement. All of this can happen only in the resplendent island of Sri Lanka. Television channels compete with each other showcasing supposedly eligible and competent souls-of-clairvoyance confidently deciphering the science to the laity. Supposed god-men  escorted to the palace in utmost secrecy for on-the-spot consultations. Those opting for greater accuracy venture the quick flight over the Palk-straits to consult professionals whose names have reached the “stars”.
Government and opposition politicians alike engage in this kind of activities whenever elections come and even during non-election times. Whether you’re a product of Oxford, Harvard or a simple coward these rituals are considered sine-quo-none and are religiously observed. To add to the saga The Jathika Hela Urumaya an ultra-nationalist party in Sri Lanka recently told the Government and President Mahinda Rajapaksa to look at the holes on the ground before looking at the stars in the sky. It seems there is spell-binding pyrotechnics already embellishing the evening skies; this can only get pretty intense no sooner the election date is officially announced. This is not a Sri Lankan thing. Authentic and confirmed records have it that even President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy were firm believers in the esoteric science.  So much for America’s faith in God and its near imperium on science.

An open letter urging the president to enact a “Recovery of Proceeds of Crime Act”

mr 23Dear Mr. President and Leaders of Political Parties,
The citizens and civil society are most grateful to Reverend Athureliye Rathana Thero, for leading the ‘Pivithuru Hetak’ (For a Just & Fair Society Tomorrow) Movement, in the development of the National Policy statement ‘Rata Gatha Yuthu Maga’: which programme has as one of its cornerstones, the assurance of good governance and a corruption free society in Sri Lanka.

Disappearances in Sri Lanka: Our Message to Govt by Brito Fernando

Brio Fernando at the Press Conference sowing on of the mud posters on 30th Oct 2014 At the 24th Commemoration
Sri Lanka Brief[Brito Fernando @ the 24th annual commemoration of the disappeared – October 27th 2014]
By Brito Fernando-31/10/2014 
At this 24th commemoration of the disappeared I would like to look back, as a person who has taken part in all previous 23 commemorations.
The first time we saw mass scale terror was in 1971.We saw burning bodies during the 1989 – 1990 period. We saw heads served from the bodies fixed to polls by the road side. It was Sinhalese who were crying at that time.Disappearances in Sri Lanka Our Message to Govt by Brito Fernando by Thavam
Review: 'Sri Lanka's Secrets: How the Rajapaksa Regime Gets Away with Murder'

Arani Kumaran Tamil Guardian 30 October 2014
'Sri Lanka's Secrets: How the Rajapaksa Regime Gets Away with Murder' by Trevor Grant, is a powerful book, containing many details that will inform, energise and enrage even those who are familiar with Sri Lanka, let alone those who are new to understanding the issues that continue to fester on this island. Trevor Grant’s contribution to the literature on Sri Lanka should be compulsory reading for everyone interested in Sri Lanka. His extensive research, access to individuals willing to talk, and ability to tie individual stories back to a bigger argument make this a very powerful book.

The layout of the book – as a visual and verbal presentation of the evidence of the crimes committed in Sri Lanka – is compelling. Though the pictures and facts will be familiar to many, the presentation and their gathering together in one place is a valuable contribution. But even more compelling is the personal stories of those who lived through the horrors – and continue to suffer the effects. Part 2 should be compulsory reading for everyone – even those who think they know everything about Sri Lanka. Grant’s ability to extract detail from his interviewees and then present it back factually is profound. And the factual presentation only reinforces the horrors suffered by Thomas, Anna, Maravan, Kumar, Sugi and Selvan. Their courage in sharing their personal horrors, combined with Grant’s ability to convey their pain in a few words, make these three chapters a powerful testament to both the human ability to carry on, and the human capacity for one person or a group to inflict unimaginable suffering on another. 

The structure of the book is well thought out and engaging. The combination of individual case studies in part 2, focus on the war zone in part 3 and thematic focus on children, women and the elderly in part 4 combine to provide multiple entries into the individual and real experiences of the Tamil population. These, combined with the focus on the Australia-Sri Lankan relationship in parts 1 and 5 which serve as bookends to these horrors, makes for a book that makes its case strongly.

Written from Australia, the book has a very strong focus on the relationship between the two countries. It is highly influenced by the circumstances at the time of writing such as Australia’s response to ‘the boats’, the internment of asylum seekers off-shore and the powerful domestic frame within which turning the boats away is more important to Australia than concerns about human rights. This makes a contribution to the literature on Sri Lanka as the bilateral relationship is rarely examined.
There are a few issues with the book that also need to be acknowledged. In seeking to make some of the broader arguments, the author relies on the language of assertion rather than the data at hand. Though there is very compelling data, it is sometimes overwhelmed by the assertions made. 

In seeking to cover a vast expanse relating to the island and suffering, the book could be in danger of losing a compelling presentation by attempting to tie it to a bigger argument. In places the book is a documentation of events and experiences. In other places it is a polemic against the atrocities of the Sri Lankan state. This may prove to be a deterrence for those who want to learn about Sri Lanka. Thus the book may end up preaching to the converted – to those actively engaged in Sri Lanka and already aware of most of the facts. This is not to argue that even those very actively engaged in Sri Lanka cannot gain from reading this book, but rather to suggest that a wider audience may be missed.

Also, while the focus on Australia, and the relationship between Australia and Sri Lanka makes this a unique book, this too may impact on the readership. To those familiar with Australian life and politics, the discussions about Packer, Gillard, Carr, etc. are detailed and provide fascinating insight into the domestic and corporate concerns in Australia’s policy towards Sri Lanka. But to those unfamiliar with Australia – who perhaps read it from a Sri Lanka perspective – these passages could prove hard to grasp due the author’s presumptions that the reader is familiar with these personalities. But on the other hand, the failure to make it clear that Australia too is a central concern of the book – there is only a reference in the last sentence on the back cover – means that a readership mainly interested in Australia might pass over the book thinking it is about Sri Lanka.

These small criticisms however should not detract from that fact that this book contains many new pieces of information put together in a compelling manner. It serves as testimony to the fact that many witnesses survived the ‘war without witnesses’ and that all they are looking for is the opportunity to share their stories and assistance in moving on. Some might see it as incumbent on the West to at least now begin to make reparations for the decisions of those times. It is certainly incumbent on all of us to at least listen to their stories – if they are willing to relive their horrors, can we be so inhuman as to turn away? And in this, Grant makes a strong contribution to giving all of us the opportunity to hear their stories.

What’s In A Ban On A Non Existent LTTE ?

Colombo Telegraph
By Kusal Perera -October 31, 2014
Kusal Perera
Kusal Perera
“After three decades of pain and anguish, today, Sri Lankans of all ethnicities, living in all parts of Sri Lanka, are free from LTTE terror and no longer live in a state of fear.” - HE the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa at the General Debate of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly, 23rdSeptember, 2011
Prabakharan1 Colombo Telegraph“I think the major victories were achieved after 18 May 2009. We had to take care of the civilians, demine the land and resettle people in villages. We also had to rehabilitate and socialize the 12,800 surrendered LTTE cadres. Further 5,000 captured are languishing in jail. Demilitarization of the paramilitary forces such as EPDP, PLOTE, TELO, was another need. We could not let them keep arms after we finished the LTTE. Secretary MoD, Gotabaya Rajapaksa - In an interview published in the official Army website on 19 November, 2013
President Rajapaksa told the world in 2011, there is no LTTE terror in Sri Lanka. That people of all ethnicities and in all parts of Sri Lanka, no longer live in a state of fear. Two years later, President Rajapaksa decided he could hold elections to the Northern Province and the election was held on 21 September 2013. That was 04 years and 04 months after he officially declared the military intervention against the LTTE was over and the LTTE had been completely eliminated, “in a humanitarian operation” as he called it. Except KP, everyone in the LTTE high command including Prabhakaran was killed in the war. Two months after the Northern PC elections were held and the TNA elected in grand style, the Secretary MoD very clearly said, “….we finished the LTTE”.

Enough lands to give Chinese but none for Sri Lankans threatened with imminent landslides – Biggest landslide ever devastates hundreds


LEN logo(Lanka-e-News-29.Oct.2014, 11.55PM) The Rajapakse regime that is only eager to provide countless acres of lands to the Chinese had uncaringly and ruthlessly ignored the many warnings issued to it since 2005 , that its own people living in the unsafe hills of Miriyabedda -Koslanda , Haldamulla are facing imminent danger to their lives , and had not taken any steps to provide alternative safe lands and protect their lives . Consequently , many hundreds of these helpless and hapless people had to face a catastrophe of epic proportions today (29) unprecedented in Sri Lanka ‘s history claiming many lives and causing untold sufferings to hundreds of others.
This morning at about 7.45 owing to this neglect hundreds of those people of Miriyabedde line village were buried alive by landslide . The government which is the architect of this misfortune had still not been able to give officially the correct statistics of the number who have died.
Mahinda Aamaraweera , the Minister of disaster management (or rather mismanagement) revealed , about 300 people are buried alive and bodies of 8 others have been discovered. An officer of Koslanda police answering our queries a little while ago said , it is not possible for any officer to say how many people were there in that area of disaster. Those who could give the figures have also been buried following the landslide. So far only three bodies have been recovered , police added.
The forces engaged in the rescue operations issuing an official communiqué stated , they could only say there were about 150 houses along the 7 rows (lines) , but the number dead cannot be said for sure. Until 3.00 p.m. the forces had been able to recover only 9 bodies . The communiqué states that 300 members of the forces were dispatched by the 11 th division of the headquarters to the venue of the disaster within 45 mins . of its occurrence .
In SL , there is no Institution to avert natural disasters, rather there is only a disaster management center which has often incurred the displeasure of the people in general and wrath of the victims of disaster in particular due to mismanagement going by history.
Minister Samaraweera following the disaster addressing the people made a statement which implicated the people as responsible for this natural disaster. He blamed that the residents did not take measures to evacuate those disaster prone areas despite warnings issued in 2005 and 2011 that those areas are landslide danger prone. This Minster whose mind is so warped could not answer the question , where are these people to find alternative locations ? Is it not the responsibility of his to evacuate them and provide safer areas to live ?
The government that forcibly evicted the estate population from Colombo to sell their lands to the Chinese , also was fully aware of the perils faced by the Tamil estate population since 2005. Yet why didn’t it use those same powers to safeguard the lives of that population ? Why couldn’t this same government that is supposedly building towns after converting sea territories into lands with great fanfare , could not provide alternative lands to these Tamil people in safe areas to build a shelter since 2005 even after being fully aware of the grave risks they were facing for nearly 10 long years?
In this connection , when the opposition leader posed a special question in Parliament this morning , the government could not give a satisfactory answer. The opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who issued a communiqué thereafter stated thus :
Details in regard to the disaster this morning that devastated Haldammulla Meeriyabedde , have still not been made available. When I inquired about this in Parliament this morning, its was revealed so far no detailed report is out. At that time when this revelation was made , there were no detailed report on the losses resulting from the catastrophe.
Based on the information of unconfirmed sources , many lives may have been subjected to this tragedy . This is a matter for great sorrow. It is our duty at this juncture to render maximum help to the victims of this devastation who are our brothers and sisters ,casting away differences of religion , race, party etc. We invite every Sri Lankan to be a part of this effort .
According to reports reaching Lanka e news from London that made some inquiries about this tragedy , many hundreds of people have been buried alive , yet the officials of the divisions connected with this tragedy are indifferent and are apathetic . Perhaps this attitude can be stemming from the mentality developing out of the 30 year old cruel war. The value of lives do not seem to be of much concern of the officials and authorities of the country. If a repeat of history is to be averted , they must develop true human feelings and sufficient sincere compassion .

Seven districts monitored for possible landslide situation

Seven districts monitored for possible landslide situationOctober 31, 2014
logoThe Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) says that 7 districts are currently being monitored for possible landslide situation, where Volunteers and Government Officials are on standby to assist in a possible evacuation.

Red Cross volunteers assisted in evacuating over 1200 people in Nuwara Eliya due to the threat of landslides. They are now housed at 15 evacuation centers in the district and being provided with required non-food relief items and first aid support.

In a statement issued today, SLRCS said it continues to support the people affected by the Koslanda landslide, currently being housed at two temporary camps in Poonagala and Koslanda.

“As of this morning Red Cross volunteers and officials assisting the search and rescue efforts in Coordination with the Ministry of Disaster Management and the Military handed over a consignment of baby formula and other relief items, and also safe drinking water bottles. 100 body bags were also handed over to the Military today upon a request by the DM Ministry.”

The SLRCS stated that as of now 03 bodies have been recovered from the debris and an accurate calculation is underway to determined the number of missing.

The landslide destroyed 66 houses in the Meeriyabadda village. A community hall, two milk collection stations, a Hindu Temple (Kovil), two shops and a communication was also destroyed from this disaster.

“Our volunteers and search and rescue teams have been assisting the Government Officials and the Military with the ongoing operation and this will continue until the said operation comes to a halt” says the President of Sri Lanka Red Cross Mr. Jagath Abeysinghe.

“We are also now looking at longer term support for the people affected, specially the children who have become orphans from this tragedy.”

Also in Moneragala several houses has been destroyed due to flash floods. SLRCS is assessing the damage caused and will provide the necessary support in coordination with Government Authorities.