Mahinda Amaraweera to resign if found guilty

Mahinda Amaraweera to resign if found guilty

June 11, 2013   02:50 pm

Minister of Disaster Management Mahinda Amaraweera says he will resign if his ministry is faund guilty by the committee probing the recent weather disaster.

Speaking at a press conference today, the minister stated that unlike other officials he will not continue to remain in his post after it is proven that a mistake has been made on his part.    

Amaraweera stated that he is proposing laws to make it mandatory for boats to be equipped with life jackets and other safety features.

“If they had these basics, we could have reduced this loss of life,” he said.

The death toll from heavy monsoon rains and strong winds rose to 42 yesterday as more bodies of missing fishermen washed ashore in the island’s coast.

The bodies of 42 fishermen along with one victim killed on land have been recovered while several other fishermen caught in rough seas are still missing.

The rain and winds which pummeled the island early on Saturday had also destroyed more than 100 houses and damaged another 2,185 buildings.

Fishermen community and certain groups have accused the Department of Meteorology of failing to alert fishermen of the impending disaster on time, in order to avoid the casualties.

A group of Buddhist monks has lodged a protest with the Colombo meteorological office, accusing it of failing to give sufficient advance warning about the strength of the monsoon.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department dismissed the accusations that they had failed to issue early warning to fishermen and said that by 4 pm local time on Friday they had issued warnings of jet stream winds upto 80 kms per hour.

The president called for an early report into “why affected people were not informed of the impending severe weather conditions in order to be able to take precautionary measures,” and has also appointed a Committee of Inquiry over the deaths of fishermen.

Minister Amaraweera said he received the Met Department report yesterday and that it has been forwarded to the President.

Families of the dead fishermen are to be compensated with a payment of rupees 100,000 with additional 15,000 to cover funeral expenditure, the government said.

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