A special religious program to commemorate the third anniversary of the tsunami and to remember all those who suffered in the devastation in 2004, was held at the International Buddhist Center in Wheaton, Maryland, on Friday, December 28, 2007.

Religious prayers were conducted by Ven. Katugastota Uparatana Nayake Thera and the Anushana was delivered by Ven. Kirinde Dhammaloka Thera.

Delivering the tsunami memorial speech, chief guest Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke said that the effects of the tsunami which occurred three years ago, still linger on in the lives of Sri Lankans. He said that while we try to understand this natural calamity in the light of the Buddha’s philosophy, we need to bolster the strength of our society with whatever assistance we can provide. The Ambassador informed the Sri Lankans of the Greater Washington area who had gathered at the commemoration, that about 80% of those displaced by the tsunami have already been resettled. Devastated infrastructure and medical facilities have been rebuilt and one hundred schools have replaced those destroyed by the tsunami, while more than 80 are under reconstruction. The Ambassador expressed his deep appreciation of the generosity and compassion of the international community and Sri Lankan expatriates living in all parts of the world, who gave their utmost help they could to Sri Lanka in its hour of dire need and distress.

The Ambassador thanked the Coalition of Sri Lankan Americans (COSLA) for its efforts at organizing the religious program. The President of COSLA, Mr. Sudath Gunasekera who spoke at the event said that even though more than 30,000 people died in the tsunami three years ago, memories of the tragedy slowly fade away with time, and that events such as this were necessary to keep alive the memories to remind all the extent of the catastrophe and the need to assist those who were affected, who are still in need of help. He also handed over to the Ambassador, some medical equipment to be sent to Sri Lanka.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

03 January 2008

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