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Cablegate: Disaster Declaration - Tidal Wave in Sri Lanka

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS COLOMBO 002047

SIPDIS

KATHMANDU FOR BILL BERGER, OFDA REGIONAL ADVISOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR EAID PGOV CE
SUBJECT: DISASTER DECLARATION - TIDAL WAVE IN SRI LANKA

1. Summary: Based upon an official request from the
Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and our assessment

SIPDIS
of the situation, the Ambassador declares that a state of
disaster has resulted from the tidal wave that hit Sri Lanka
on December 26, leaving at least 2000 dead, 200,000 homeless
and 1 million persons affected. The Ambassador requests USD
100,000 under the Ambassador's disaster assistance authority
to respond to the humanitarian needs created by this
disaster. End summary.

2. A tidal wave hit coastal areas of northern, eastern,
southern and southwestern Sri Lanka mid-morning on December
26, killing at least 2000 people, leaving 200,000 homeless
and 1 million affected by the disaster. Foreign Secretary
H.M.G.S. Palihakkara contacted the Ambassador the afternoon
of December 26, formally requesting U.S. assistance. In
particular, the Sri Lankan government is seeking U.S.
assistance in disaster management. A United Nations
Disaster Assistance team is expected in Sri Lanka on December
27. The Indian government is reportedly providing six ships
and six airplanes to assist in search and rescue operations.

3. The Ambassador has been in contact with OFDA Regional
Advisor Bill Berger by telephone to discuss the situation.
Based on the magnitude of the disaster, Post requests USD
100,000 be made available for disaster assistance. Specific
targeting of these resources will be determined in
consultation with OFDA based on further assessment of need.

4. Based on the evidence above, I declare a disaster
resulting from the tidal wave in Sri Lanka. The disaster is
beyond the capacity of the Sri Lankan government to
adequately respond, and provision of this humanitarian
assistance is in the interest of the U.S. government.

5. Action for OFDA: Embassy requests OFDA provide immediate
fund cite of USD 100,000.

LUNSTEAD

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