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 Post subject: Sri Lanka returns to normalcy after tsunami alert relaxes
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:54 pm 
Sri Lanka returns to normalcy after tsunami alert relaxes

www.chinaview.cn 2005-03-29 23:50:09

COLOMBO, March 29 (Xinhuanet) -- After the government withdrew tsunami alert, people fled their homes in Sri Lanka's coastlines began to come back and situation in the Indian Ocean island country gradually returned to normalcy.

In withdrawing its tsunami warning, the government said it was safe for residents to return as there were no reports of unusual wave activity anywhere in the country or neighboring countries within the Indian Ocean.

As a precautionary measure to avoid possible tsunami from a 8.5Richter Scale earthquake near Sumatra, Indonesia, the government issued a tsunami alert late Monday.

Through Sri Lankan National Television and Sri Lankan Broadcasting Cooperation, the government urged residents in the coastal area to evacuate immediately to at least 2 km inland.

"We can't take chances given what happened just three months ago," a senior official said. "Better be safe than sorry."

Police spokesman Rienzie Perera said at least 2,500 policemen were deployed throughout the country late Monday to help people's evacuation.

Military sources said at least two people were killed early Tuesday in the eastern region as tens of thousands panic-stricken people fled their homes for higher ground.

A boy was killed in an accident involving a truck in Batticaloa and a 65-year-old woman collapsed and died in Kalmunai as she sought higher ground. A third person was injured, the government said.

Schools in some parts of the country were not functioning Tuesday, and many other establishments have been shut as the owners and workers have fled toward safer land.

The trains, which were stopped with the announcement of a possible tsunami threat, resumed services to the South from Monday morning.

No tidal wave hit Sri Lanka although the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency reported a 25-centimeter wave reached Sri Lanka three hours after the earthquake hit off Sumatra.

Sri Lanka's embassy in Washington received a warning call from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii soon after the Indonesian earthquake.

The embassy said the quake was described as an after-shock to the Dec. 26 earthquake that triggered tsunamis that killed nearly 30,000 people in Sri Lanka and left many more people homeless.

The embassy immediately contacted civilian and military authorities in Sri Lanka.

Deputy Meteorology Director P.M. Jayathillaka Banda said Japan's Meteorological Agency also alerted Colombo.

Buddhist monks and Hindu priests held prayers in temples across the country on Tuesday to give thanks that the earthquake did not cause a tsunami.

Although there is no threat of a tsunami nearly 24 hours after a warning was issued Monday night, Geological Survey and Mines Bureau chairman P.G.R. Dharmarathne said it is good to keep constant watch for any rising of the sea level.

Dharmarathne told the public that there is no threat of a tsunami right now but asked them to be vigilant and remain on the safe side.

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