President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga on Thursday (22 September) presented a cheque to the value of US $ 25,000/- to former President Bill Clinton at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington D.C., to be credited to the ‘Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund’, towards disaster relief activities for those affected from hurricane Katrina, which caused considerable devastation in the states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi in late August.

The Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund was set up by President George W. Bush to serve as an umbrella organization for the three special funds established by Governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi and will focus on collecting donations to assist in the long-term recovery plan for the states affected by this terrible tragedy.

Earlier, in the immediate aftermath of the devastation caused by hurricane Katrina, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the U.S., Bernard A. B. Goonetilleke had handed over a cheque for US $ 25,000/- to the American Red Cross in Washington D.C., on behalf of the Government and people of Sri Lanka to express empathy with the affected victims. Ambassador Goonetilleke had also informed the American Red Cross that members of the Sri Lanka Medical Association of North America (SLMANA) stood ready to provide medical personnel to serve the survivors of hurricane Katrina and had offered to provide a consignment of Sri Lankan tea for the victims.

In a letter addressed to President Bush and President Clinton, President Kumaratunga noted:

"I am deeply saddened to learn about the heavy loss of life and the magnitude of the destruction caused by hurricane Katrina. The images of death and devastation are grim reminders to us of the tragic loss following the December 26 tsunami that affected several Indian Ocean countries including Sri Lanka. I am also saddened to learn about the heavy damage caused to the city of New Orleans that has a rich cultural heritage.

Recovering from the trauma of our own tragedy, the people of Sri Lanka, including her children, are in deep empathy with the hurricane affected families. The unprecedented generosity of the American people, as well as your own leadership role in mobilizing private sector assistance for tsunami recovery is sincerely appreciated by the people of my country.

I am pleased to make a modest contribution of US $ 25,000/- to the “Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund” towards disaster relief activities.

I wish you well in your current efforts to mobilize assistance for disaster relief. We hope that the insights you have from your visits to the tsunami affected countries in the Indian Ocean region and from the many interactions you have had with aid workers and survivors, will prove useful in your arduous task.”

Accepting the cheque President Clinton thanked Sri Lanka for its thoughtful gesture, which was deeply appreciated by the American people.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

23 Septmeber 2005



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