Singapore Education Minister visits Trincomalee

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 12 January 2005, 13:46 GMT]
Mr.Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister of Education in the Government of Singapore Wednesday paid a visit to Trincomalee district and witnessed the destruction of coastal areas in the north of east port town caused by Tsunami and consoled victims sheltered in welfare centres located in Nilaveli Mosque and Adambodai village.

Mr.Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister of Education in the Government of SingaporeVictims are currently living in tents supplied by the Chinese government as their permanent houses and other implements needed for their livelihood when their coastal village 'Veloor' in the Kuchchaveli division the north of the district had been washed away by the Tsunami waves last December, sources said

Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam first arrived in the Nilaveli mosque where Muslim refugees are sheltered. He donated a consignment of cooking utensils to the management of the welfare centre on behalf of his government.

Mr.Tharman Shanmugaratnam Minister seeing the devastation of Veloor village

Mr.Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister of Education in the Government of Singapore
Minister going through a textbook of aTsunami victim student in a temporary shelter
Mr.Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister of Education in the Government of Singapore
Minister squatting on the ground speaks to a Tsunami victim woman who is cooking lunch for her family while Dr.Gnanagunalan, Mr.Hussaideen Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry Protocol Officer Mr.Haniffa look on
Mr.Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister of Education in the Government of Singapore
Minister with Tsunami victim family inside a temporary shelter
Dr.E.G.Gnanagunalan, Chairman of the Trincomalee district branch of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) explained to the visiting minister the sufferings of the victims and their urgent needs. SLRCS is in charge of co-ordinating the medical services in the affected areas.

Dr.Gnanagunalan told the minister that more than fifty percent of the victims in the Kuchchaveli division are children. He said most of the victims have lost their livelihood as sea water entered into the agricultural plots and fishing boats destroyed in Tsunami disaster.

Mr.Tharman Shanmugaratnam thereafter witnessed the destruction caused to Veloor village.

Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam was accompanied by a group of Singapore journalists.

Winding up his tour to the devastated area Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam met with journalists. He said top priority should be given to the education of students. They should be provided with all facilities from uniforms, textbooks and other urgently needed materials for learning immediately. Second place should be given to reconstruction and rebuilding of the devastated areas. Next comes the subject of finding employment who have lost their livelihoods, Mr.Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

He added economy of the Trincomalee depends on agriculture, fishing and tourism. Paddy and food crops could not be cultivated for several months because of salinity. A concerted effort should be made to restore normalcy.

Mr.Hussaindeen, Deputy Director of Planning in theTrincomalee district secretariat represented the Government Agent during the visit. He briefed the Minister the assistance provided by the government, sources said.

Mr.Tharman Shanmugaratnam said, "My grand father was from Urelu in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. My father and myself were born in Malaya ".


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