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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2527

Prime Minister To Cut Short His Visit Due To Tragedy At Meetotamulla

Colombo, 17 April, (

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and wife who arrived in Vietnam on Sunday afternoon on a four-day official visit on the invitation of Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Xuan Phuc, has decided to cut short their visit because of the tragedy at Meetotamulla, sources close to him told journalists.

Sources said he decided to cut the visit short as a result of the disaster at the Meetotamulla garbage dump, which has killed over 26 people.

The Prime Minister was to get back to Sri Lanka on Wednesday April 19. However he is expected return to Island before that date sources added.

Wickremesinghe is to meet the President, Prime Minister and other senior ministers during his visit to Vietnam.

Minister of Fisheries, Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Telecommunications, Harin Fernando, Minister of National languages, Mano Ganesan, MP Ranjith Aluwihare are among the Sri Lankan delegation.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, while on an official visit to Vietnam issuing a special statement said that he would not approve of some parties trying to make the disaster a political issue. There were some who tried to capitalize on the loss suffered by Meethotamulla people for narrow political gains, he said.

"The government had made plans to remove the garbage dump. The disaster struck before those plans were put into action. As soon as I heard of the disaster, I instructed all relevant officials to visit the site and to provide relief to the victims and their families. When I spoke to the President, I came to know that relief operations were on the move. I gave instructions to the Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development with regard to the safety and protection in the area.

"I need to assure people that the government would not backtrack on its promise of removing the garbage dump. The President told me that we have to expedite those operations. The methods being planned to remove the garbage dump are environmental friendly and there is not an iota of truth in rumours being spread by some parties with vested interests that the removal would cause further damage and destruction.

"I thank all those who sacrificed their New Year holiday time to provide relief to the victimized people," the PM said in his message.

In the meantime, President Maithripala Sirisena had ordered that relief be provided to victims of the Meethotamulla garbage dump disaster regardless of the cost, a media statement issued by the President’s office said.

Addressing a meeting held at the Ministry of Disaster Management to provide relief to the victims, the president told officials to do their best to help the disaster victims fast.

The attention of the officials had also been drawn to the need for removing the garbage dump, the release said.

The President inquired about the action being taken to remove other families to safety. Those evaculated from the areas under threat would be provided shelter at three warehouses belonging to Paddy Marketing Board at Meethotamulla.

The officials’ attention was drawn to providing compensation to the affected families and the President instructed officials to finalise a comprehensive report within five days. A similar meeting would be held at the same venue at 3.00 pm on Wednesday to review progress, the media statement added.

Among those present were Ministers Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Susil Premajayantha, A. H. M. Fowzie, Dr Rajitha Senaratne, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, MP S. M. Marikkar, Prasanna Solangarachchi, the IGP and commanders of the tri-forces.

- Asian Tribune -

Prime Minister To Cut Short His Visit Due To Tragedy At Meetotamulla
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