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Fishermen's deaths due to storm: Ministers must resign “ Sajith

2013 Jun 19

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Public funds hould not be wasted on the Disaster Management Ministry if it could not save the people from natural disasters, UNP Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa says.

Addressing a gathering in Beruwala after offering his condolences and making cash donations to the bereaved families of fishermen killed by a recent storm, Premadasa said that nearly 70 fishermen had perished due to inclement weather as they had not been informed of the stormy weather before setting sail.

It was shocking that a tragedy of that nature had occurred in the 21st Century and while the country was maintaing a disaster management ministry, he said.

MP Premadasa said: "Although there were stormy seas on June 07, there were no early warnings from the authorities, departments and ministries set up for that task. Fishermen were not aware of such changes in the weather and went fishing. The Met Department officials have said they released an early warning at 4.00 p.m. on Friday (June 07). Yet the Fisheries Ministry officials have denied it, claiming that they had received such a warning only around 3.00 a.m. the following day. So, the news of possible dangers was announced over electronic media only on Saturday morning. By that time, the damage had been done."

MP Premadasa said that the purpose of running a ministry of disaster management was to save people from natural disasters. If the ministry could not save the lives of public, there was no point in spending so much of money on its maintenance. "This is not the first time this ministry has shirked its responsibility. There have been several such instances. It seems that the officials have not learnt from their past mistakes. Now it is confirmed that this ministry does not have any mechanism to warn the public of disaster in advance."

The ministers, their deputies and bureaucrats who failed to warn the people in advance must own up to their blunders and resign, Premadasa said.

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