Lankan HC in London organizes event in memory of 2004 tsunami victims

By Sujeeva Nivunhella

in London

An event was organized by the Sri Lankan High Commission in London to remember and honor those who lost their lives due to the 2004 tsunami.

Religious leaders of all four faiths conducted prayers followed by the welcome address by the Acting High Commissioner, Dr. Chanaka Talpahewa.

Prince Harry sent a special message, which was read out by Alistair Harrison, Her Majesty’s Marshal of the Diplomatic Corp., who also spoke. Mrs. Cherie Blair, wife of Sir Tony Blair, former Prime Minister, who was involved with her husband in helping tsunami-affected countries in 2004 also spoke at the event.

She recalled how British public was united in helping tsunami affected countries. She also appreciated the efforts made by the government of Sri Lanka in addressing the immediate humanitarian needs of the victims and carefully handling the situation in the aftermath of this disaster.

Rob Forkan, who was in Sri Lanka on holiday with his parents in 2004 when he was 13 lost his parents to the tsunami. He started a charity called ‘Gandys’. Sharing his experience, he explained the reasons for his determination to establish ‘Gandys’ and help the needy.

Ms. Della Far of Oxford who was in Sri Lanka during tsunami and survived with the help of a Sri Lankan fisherman, also shared her experience. Richard Gordon, Director, Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre (BUDMC) addressing the gathering, explained the work done in Sri Lanka as well as measures put in place to minimize negative effects of the natural disasters of this nature.

Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, Heads of Missions, many members of the Diplomatic Corp as well as UK Government officials, especially from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), attended the event.

This event brought together a cross section of the UK community and Sri Lankans living in the UK. A photo exhibition was also organized with the participation of the charities to show the devastation of the tsunami and the development work undertaken by the government of Sri Lanka as well as the charities.

A 45 minutes program on Sri Lanka produced by Wales ITV, UK on the tsunami devastation and the status of development in the 10 years since then, was also screened.

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